Data portability is a topic which is becoming more and more important, prominent example is OpenSocial from Google. OpenSocial allows you to build apps/widgets for many big social networks out there, based on one API (OpenSocial). This helps the developer of an app to make it available for all supported platforms without the need to re-write it for every social network/online community out there.
A different approach is the one from Gnip. They want to act as a data stream coverter, providing you with data from many services in the format most appropriate for your app. Below you find the services offered by them (or what they will offer soon):
|Gnip Notifications||Data Consumers: Poll for new data the moment it exists. Avoid throttling & decrease latency from hours to seconds.
Data Providers: Reduce API traffic by an order of magnitude while increasing distribution through aggregators.
|Gnip Polling (soon)||Offload API and RSS polling to Gnip and receive full content updates via your preferred protocol (REST, XMPP, ATOM, etc).|
|Gnip Transformation (soon)||Receive standardized cross-service XML markup and turn integrating with new APIs into a plug-and-play experience.|
|Gnip Identification (soon)||Let Gnip offer suggestions for your users’ profiles through a variety of identity discovery mechanisms.|
This is an basic overview of their service (from Gnip’s site):
They support many well known services, in which data streams you can hook into as an application developer, among them are e.g. MyBlogLog, Flickr, Identi.ca, Twitter, etc.
Chem them out at gnipcentral. Do you have some experience with this service or are you thinking about using it? Let us know and leave a comment.