One of our great friends in the Android Community, Clay Graham, is the founder and creator of Ratecred a popular twitter based Geo-App that began as Service Tattler. Both Service Tattler and Ratecred put an interesting new spin on location based/Geo apps and was a pioneer in the Rate and Check-in app structure.
In December 2009 Twitter purchased Mixer Labs, whose Geo-API had a database of over 16 million businesses with a reverse geo-coder and support for geo-coded tweets. It was this Geo-API for which the framework of Service Tattler, RateCred and several other location based Twitter intensive applications are made. That is until the end of this month when Twitter shuts the service down.
To add to the frustration of app developers like Graham, there have been widespread reports of 503 errors all day Friday and other days at the beginning of this week. As Graham writes on the ratecred blog developers using the Geo-API are experiencing:
12 days response to a service ticket where production is completely down is just hard to understand, and availability problems that span weeks is also a troubling sign. No posts to @geo, not a one, ever. 2500 followers. Not one post.
Twitter offers a solution in migrating developers to their own Twitter API which falls short in some key geo areas. In fact all of Ratecred’s locations are Geo based and Ratecred users add value to the GEO-API because users can add custom locations.
More after the break
Graham and I had dinner together last summer when I was in San Francisco for the 4G Summit. He’s a mild mannered, passionate geeky guy like many other developers. Sure he’s hoping to make a good living out of development but he’s not a Dennis Crowley (4 square), Biz Stone (Twitter) or Evan Williams (Twitter).
At this point Ratecred is providing a valuable and free service to it’s users.
Twitter seems to be doing a lot these days in re-positioning it’s business. Twitter is often the subject of take-over and IPO rumors and has been flexing their muscles a lot lately. But crippling developers that are so vital to their infrastructure is a concern, especially without a clear plan for migration or even whatever is going to happen to the API itself.
Below is a copy of the email Twitter sent to it’s GEO-API developers in December:
The core functionality and commonly used endpoints of GeoAPI.com have already been migrated to the Twitter API, and many are in use on twitter.com today.
Our data shows that the features we have migrated to the Twitter API cover all but a handful of developers. With that, we want to let you know that the GeoAPI will be turned off on March 31, 2011.
If you are still using the GeoAPI, we encourage you to move to the Twitter APIs at your earliest opportunity. To help you do this we have:
1. Matched GeoAPI place IDs with Twitter place IDs, allowing you to continue to query Twitter with the IDs you already know.
2. Documented the Twitter APIs on the Twitter Developer Resources site:
If you have any questions about Geo in the Twitter API you can ask our Developer Advocates and Community through the Twitter Developer mailing list. You can join the mailing list through Google Groups:
We thank you for having used GeoAPI.com to power places in your service.