Gnip Eases Data Portability for Web 2.0

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-10-17 Print this article Print

Gnip says it provides a simpler way of moving data from one social network to another. The service is being used by some of the most popular destinations on the Web, including Twitter, Delicious, Flickr, Digg and Plaxo. Shane Pearson, Gnip's new head of products, speaks with eWEEK about the company and his role.

Gnip, pronounced Guh-nip, is a company providing a way for people to move data from one social network to another. In short, the company is a Web 2.0 infrastructure software provider. Gnip recently delivered Gnip 2.0.

Shane Pearson, head of products at Gnip, sat down with eWEEK Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft for a quick introductory interview about the platform. Pearson, who was most recently Vice President, Marketing and Product Management at BEA Systems, where he spent eight years working on enterprise Java solutions, Web services, SOA (service-oriented architecture) and bringing Web 2.0 to the enterprise, is a recent hire at Gnip. In a blog post about Gnip, Pearson said:

Gnip provides an extensible messaging platform that allows for the publishing or subscribing of events and data from across the Internet, which makes data portability exponentially less painful and more automatic once it is set up. Because Gnip is being built as a platform of capabilities and not a Web application the core services are instantly useful for multiple scenarios, including data producers, data consumers and any custom Web applications. Gnip already is being used with many of the most popular Internet data sources, including Twitter, Delicious, Flickr, Digg, and Plaxo.

What is Gnip?

Gnip is a software company that provides a hosted, extensible messaging platform that allows people to access real-time events and data from across the Internet. Today it is very common for developers to write code against Web-based APIs to do polling so they can get events and data, but every Web API has different behavior and structure. Gnip solves the problems of inconsistent Web APIs by providing a common way to access Web APIs and by providing a common set of value-added capabilities people can leverage across these Web APIs.

Who is your target user?

Our target user is a developer or IT department.

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Who are some of your major customers and partners? What are they using Gnip for?

We are working with many social Web services and sites today, as they tend to have the most need and pain for accessing events and data from multiple locations. For example, Plaxo is using Gnip to define user activities that they want to monitor from external providers like Flickr and Twitter and have cross-posted to the Plaxo Web site. Several customers are using Gnip to define specific types of user activities to track on and Twitter or Delicious, Digg and others.

What attracted you to Gnip? Why did you join?

I was attracted to Gnip because of the technology/solution they are building and the role. A lot of my past experience has been around highly scalable messaging and data-centric use cases, so working to provide a solution like Gnip is very interesting to me. In addition, I thought working somewhere smaller would be a good change of pace [as opposed] to the other opportunities that I explored that were all in other very large software companies.

What is your role as head of products?

My responsibility includes all our marketing and product activities from driving our product development to defining our go-to-market strategy.

What are some of the next milestones for the company? What kinds of services do you plan to deliver next?

We just put out our 2.0 release two weeks ago and are hard at work on a release that will be in a few months. Today we offer Gnip Notifications and Gnip Data Streams and in coming releases will offer new services for Polling, Transformation and Identification.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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