Examples of APIs that are everywhere
Since the beginning of the year, we have received increasing numbers of clients and stories of Software Integrations with partner companies taking place in a complicated way.
Each integration takes too long to complete and start working, and requires knowledge from several people in the IT teams.
We see this mainly in companies that need forms of communication and protocol exchanges in an efficient way. The best examples are marketplaces and SaaS.
Of course, it is not feasible to do this efficiently without using APIs.
For example, think of a SaaS like Salesforce.
Now, access the Salesforce integrated apps gallery (through the API) and notice that there are almost 3.000 different applications and over 3 million installations!Amazing, isn't it?
Would it be possible to carry out all these integrations on time? Obviously not.
Through the API, it is possible to transform a business into a true Digital Platform, based on modern and dynamic digital business (if you haven't seen it yet, check out the Webinar we talked about).
If you haven't heard, the use of APIs to expand the reach of a product or service is already a reality.
This is what is being called the API Economy.
But this new economy is not far from you. On the contrary, as you read this text, your computer or mobile phone is communicating with various APIs, whether local or on the web.
All without you noticing.
Is that so? Let's look at some examples of APIs that you use every day and don't know.
Social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest)
This is the most popular application, and the easiest to exemplify!
For sure, you've already logged in to a website that had share buttons or "Sign in with your Facebook/G+/Twitter/etc account".
It is very common to find the icons of social networks somewhere in the most diverse websites.
This has become not only an extremely advantageous application for social networks, but for businesses of all kinds, generating engagement between the company and the public.
For example, you can help Sensedia a lot by liking and sharing this post ;)
APIs allow you to execute payments and transfers without leaving the store website, or service provider.
This way, by using the digital wallet APIs, the buyer doesn't need to put the credit card data on the store's website, but only their PayPal user and password, authorizing the purchase.
The information is already stored with the payment provider. Much more convenient!
Offering reliable payment solutions within the store fights the resistance of the customer, who is often afraid of having their data security compromised and expenses unduly generated in their name by cloned cards, for example.
The result? Better conversion rates and more secure and satisfied customers!
Through the integration of APIs, you can create your own applications based on your company's location or that react to your user's position!
They also allow you to view topography and geography data and help determine weather forecasts.
One of my favorite ideas is Zombies, Run!, an App that connects to the cell phone's GPS (through a system API) to trace its race route on Maps, linking physical exercise to a survival (and escape) game in a zombie apocalypse.
It is also common for services such as Google Maps to connect to other APIs, such as those of urban transportation companies, to determine schedule routes.
One API, which consults another and another API!
Curiosity: did you know that the Google Maps API started to be used with reverse engineering? Soon after the service was released, some developers had several application ideas and explored the code to put their ideas into practice.
Only some time later, Google officiated and opened the Maps API, adding several features.
As I already commented in the Introduction, the Marketplaces are some of the great beneficiaries of the power of APIs.
A few years ago, Amazon was just an online bookstore. Today, you can hire processing power from Amazon's servers, via AWS, in just a few codes!
One of the things that strongly impacted Amazon's growing technology was the decision to expose all the company's internal information exchanges through APIs.
Some of these APIs are the same ones that external developers use!And this decision was communicated to the company in an email sent by the CEO, Jeff Bezos. And whoever decided not to follow the "recommendation" would be fired!Today, this company invoices billions of dollars a year. Billions, with a B. And that was just a little book store!
In general, through the publication of the API, the retailer's website can integrate with the base platform, be it Amazon, Extra or Mercado Livre.
The stores can thus unify the two management systems, which facilitates processes such as the constant updating of prices in a secure way, because there is no need to make the database available to third parties.
Another advantage is the updating of inventories in real time between different stores, which avoids both waste and improper sales.
Perhaps the biggest change, however, is that large platforms are able to offer an ever-increasing selection of products, with small retailers integrated.All this without changing the customer's shopping experience! The customers are the ones who win =D
I know that you and many others have already wondered how Buscapé always knows the websites with the lowest prices.
No, it's not a trainee going from website to website and updating the system with the best prices!It's a good thing that the technology has gone way past that.
Therefore, the famous "hitting the stores" looking for a product with the best offer is over.
Not even on the internet it is necessary to go out switching from store to store to find the best price.By providing its catalogs, through the API, the price comparison service is able to find the desired product in several stores and compare it automatically.Again, the main beneficiaries are the customers.
Here we have some other well diversified integration offerings, which would be much more complex to implement without APIs.
This is the case for SaaS or PaaS companies, which offer complete solutions, which are often fully comprised of APIs.
Some processes today are so seamlessly integrated by APIs that we forget that they are composed of completely different systems.
Did you receive a text message to confirm a registration? That was sent through the API of the SMS gateway.
Saving an e-mail attachment on Dropbox or Google Drive? API!
Accessing Netflix through your smart TV App? Well, you already know the answer ;)
There are countless examples of APIs!
Comment from Victor, a visitor:
"Nice article! Could you include the stock exchanges that allow consultation of stock values and volumes traded via API's in the list of examples?"
As we have seen, we are already living the new API Economy and need to adapt to the times.
Companies without a strategy in this area run the risk of being left behind!
For the end user, APIs can go unnoticed - but not for your business. If you want to know how the Sensedia API Management Platform has helped large companies grow more, feel free to contact us.
So, how'd you like it? Do you know any more examples of APIs? Leave a comment so we can add it here.
Originally published on August 2014.