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March 10, 2009 / davebirss

Tech news from the Guardian


Today the Guardian announced something pretty cool for us geeky peeps. They’ve created an API so that companies and individuals can access and interact with all their content and information. And I think that’s awesome!

Let me first of all say that I am biased – Unchained is a content partner of the Guardian. I like most of the stuff they do. But I’m really looking forward to what comes out of this.

When other newspapers are foolishly thinking about making a return to the paid subscription model, the Guardian is instead opening up everything they have and giving it away freely for people to do with as they please. They’ve got it right – that’s the way the internet works as far as I’m aware! And because they’re doing this, their content will go further, their brand will appear in more places, individuals will do really creative stuff that’s attached to the Guardian brand and they will engage deeper with audiences. Pretty simple really. Their only challenge is to attach a revenue model to it somehow. And that revenue model is probably based on attracting a more international audience.

I’m just really looking forward to seeing what creative things people do with the content. Here’s some stuff I’d like to see:

  • A Jonathan Harris style app that graphically shows how good or bad any day in history is according to the main news stories of that day.
  • An application to test Nostradamus’s prophesies – that maps them against the stories they allegedly foretold.
  • A Visual Thesaurus kind of application that lets you browse related articles.
  • A sweary news application that just adds expletives into a story to add more emotional depth.
  • A game that picks out 3 headlines from any day in history and you have to guess what day it was.

What would you do with it? Put you ideas here and we’ll maybe see if there are any developers who fancy building them.


Leave a Comment
  1. james / Mar 13 2009 8:51 am

    How about some kind of geotagging news tool? So you could arrive at the Barbican, look it up on this app and amaze your mates with your intimate lknowledge of the last five years’ exhibitions. Or find out what the biggest news stories have been for that small village you pass through on holiday.

    Maybe an app that mirrors your personal news feed (twitted, blog, whatever) with public news? Like, maybe 9/11 wasn’t the saddest day ever if you got married/gave birth that day.

    A crossword generated from a random day in the past two years? Answer the clues and figure out the day?

  2. davebirss / Mar 13 2009 9:04 am

    Ooh! I like the geotagging one. With some kind of Google mashup. And a location-based mobile phone doobrie. That does it for me!

    I also like the cross referencing news with your personal information. I like the idea of being able to search deeply into one calendar day. In it’s simplest form, you could create something that picks out the top 5 headlines that appeared on this day in history and emails them to you / displays them in a widget / feeds them by RSS / whatever.

    And I was also thinking of an ‘Have I Got News For You’ kind of game where words are missed out of headlines and you have to guess what they are.

    I wish this was a brief and we could brainstorm ideas for apps!

  3. james / Mar 13 2009 10:01 am

    Class. Maybe those nice peeps at the Guardian could give us some extra-curricular action to kickstart a showcase app or two!

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