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BBC opens up content
Free tools and APIs for non com. use
Sanenet




msg:921633
 1:16 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

[news.bbc.co.uk...]
[backstage.bbc.co.uk...]

The BBC is giving web developers and designers outside of the organisation access to its content so that they can "create cool new things". [...]
The backstage.bbc.co.uk project offers a collection of feeds, and plans to offer APIs, and other tools for "re-mixing" and re-purposing the BBC's offerings in more flexible ways.

"We want to promote innovation and creativity on the net by opening access to some of BBC's content and services," co-project leader Ben Metcalfe told the BBC News website.

"Essentially, backstage.bbc.co.uk is enabling developers to create new contexts and user experiences around BBC content, like creating alternative way to navigate, or remixing it with content and services from other providers like Yahoo."

[added]Damn, this is cool. The BBC has a huge amount of stuff, and some of the "coming soon" prototypes look good - such as podcasting, BBC search API, Postcode info, community info and more!

 

mrMister




msg:921634
 3:54 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

WOW, it's sooooooooooooo cooool!

API, XML, wow all the buzzwords that you don't understand the meaning of.....

Cooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool!

You do realise that they've "opened" up nothing except their already open RSS at the moment, right?

So you can still do f*ck all with the data except re-translate their RSS, which you always could.

Hopefully in the future they'll get around to writing a decent API.

In the meantime, I'd rather not get excited about their self-promoted hype!

Sanenet




msg:921635
 3:56 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Not quite - before, you could only use the RSS feeds for personal use. Now, you can use them as you will - stick them on your site or application.

mrMister




msg:921636
 4:34 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Not quite - before, you could only use the RSS feeds for personal use. Now, you can use them as you will - stick them on your site or application.

Ah, you're thinking of the previous news release that they issued! In that one they admitted that they hadn't changed anything about their RSS and that they were just admitting defeat; they can't stop anyone using the RSS on their own site, so they might as well open it up for free use.

The second news release (as quoted in the original post) was to state that they have started opening up an API for devloper use.

Of course that API is currently non-existent, so it can be dismissed as hype.

In the meantime, is anyone happy that their licence fee should be spent on hyping up non-existent technologies that will eventually be used mainly by non-licence paying foreigners to make money with?

mrMister




msg:921637
 4:41 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Incidentally, I'm not critisicing the BBC as a whole. It's just that on this issue they've hit a nerve.

It's a waste of licence fees to open up an API that will almost certainly end up being used mainly by Americans for capitalist purposes.

I wish the BBC would concentrate on what they are good at; providing useful information and services that can not be produced without making a loss.

They should not try to appease the mass market or the Americans. The Amercians destroyed their chances of having a free press many years ago. They sold their press for profit and they should have to live with the concequences of their greed. Why should we subsidise their need for open information when they sold out their own press for money years ago?

Sell the yanks re-runs of Eastenders and keep them in a vegative state, that's what I say ;-)

mrMister




msg:921638
 4:56 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think you can really see the BBC's true political aspirations at the moment form the Dr Who incident.

Remember the guy that leaked the first episode? The guy that got everybody talking? The guy that gave Dr Who its massive ratings?

Yeah, well that guy, they got him sacked from his job!

The BBC has a wonderful political vehicle in Dr. Who. They can push their political ideologies to the kind of vegetables that usually watch DIY and gardening programmes on TV. It's a work of genius from the people on the BBC's factory floor. I've not seen a mass-market programme that can do that kind of thing.

Yet the guy that saw how media is developing at the moment and created the publicity for the programme, he got the sack.

Unfortunately, that's how all forward-thinking ends in the BBC at the moment.

It'll be another 4 years before any change happens at least. Please do not give the cretins in BBC management any credit for creating empty-hype, you'll only encourage them. Please see their statement for what it is, empty hype designed to appease the empty-headed.

RIP: Greg Dyke.

carguy84




msg:921639
 4:59 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

welcome to the MrMister blog. ;)

treeline




msg:921640
 5:08 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's too late to stop us Americans.

Every night we get the BBC for two hours on the radio. For free. No commercials. It's like the holy grail.

So you're too late, we already enjoy your precious resource. Oh, and they let us view the website too. For free.

So please consider this my deep appreciation of the British taxpayer keeping me well informed. For free, in America.

mrMister




msg:921641
 5:25 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

LOL carguy, sorry it was a bit of a rant. What I'm getting at is this...

Q. What is in place now that wasn't in place a year ago.

A. Nothing except an empty press release.

Q. Who pushed the idea and produced the RSS feeds?

A. The factory floor of the BBC

Q. Who pushed this empty press release?

A. The BBC establishment.

It's the hard working people of the BBC who brought us the RSS feeds, and its them who will be creating the API.

I see this post (which is front page listed) as a clear pat on the back to the creators of the press-release.

By giving credit to an empty press-release issued by BBC management, you are praising the BBC's management. However, at the same time you are giving the hard working people at the BBC a good hard kick in the teeth.

I suggest waiting until the API is ready and then giving the real workers the full credit that they deserve.

Please do not praise the BBC's establishment for producing an empty press release, they don't deserve it and if this country's free media is to continue, they need booting out.

Chico_Loco




msg:921642
 5:29 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't get the whole Americans thing... why wouldn't be Britons, or citizens of other countries be able to benefit?

And also, about pleasing the mass market - well that's just basic business sense. Please the majority if you want to make $$$. What the point in pleasing only a select few - you'd limit your potential growth - and in the age of what is pretty much free information - who are you to dictate that they should and should not share for free?

mrMister




msg:921643
 5:35 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

And also, about pleasing the mass market - well that's just basic business sense. Please the majority if you want to make $$$.

Business sense maybe, but the BBC is not a business. It is designed to make a loss. Its purpose is to keep the people of Britain free. It should be sepearate from both commercial and govenment affairs and keep the people informed.

We do have capitalist centric news here too. If people want to watch Rupert "Fox" Murdoch TV, they can. The difference is, we have a non-profit motivated news force to give us balance. It's true that if you repeat a lie often enough, people believe it, and unfortunately Mr. Murdoch will tell lies all day if he can fill his pockets from it.

People can make money all they want if they think it'll make them happy, but they can't make money from the BBC because it will breed corruption.

Without non-profit motiavted news, the country deteriorates...

"And now on Health Food USA, a word from our sponsors..."

"McDonalds, the healthiest saturated fat you can buy! mmmm-um!"

hughie




msg:921644
 5:49 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I pay my TV license and am glad that they've released this. It may be a bit of fun or it might prove to be something really special. Will need to dig a bit deeper.

<sarcasm>
And while your there mrMister, scrap the world service, nobody in britain listens to it so why should anyone else. In fact how dare the dutch watch BBC on their TV's, they should put up big frequency blockers to stop it leaking over the channel.
</sarcasm>

hughie

Chico_Loco




msg:921645
 5:52 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Business sense maybe, but the BBC is not a business. It is designed to make a loss. Its purpose is to keep the people of Britain free. It should be sepearate from both commercial and govenment affairs and keep the people informed.

I'll trust you on that, but why is your anger directed towards Americans on this? It would seem that everybody could benfit from it just as much, if it were to come around. Arguably, companies in India would hit it the most for AdSense revenue.

I'm not American by the way.

longen




msg:921646
 6:13 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Its purpose is to keep the people of Britain free

surely not - during the cold war they were with the soviets.

mrMister




msg:921647
 6:17 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'll trust you on that, but why is your anger directed towards Americans on this?

Sorry I didn't it to mean all American people. Not everyone (or even most people) in America is greedy. Its just that they're the biggest economy in the world and America stands to gain the most.

With reference to the other guy regarding the world service...

Yes, I agree with the world service in the same way that I agree with the web site being available across the world.

This isn't the same thing.

mrMister




msg:921648
 6:22 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Its purpose is to keep the people of Britain free

surely not - during the cold war they were with the soviets.

I don't know about you, but my idea of a balanced media is having both sides of the story published.

You'd prefer it if all the media towed the government line?

And no, I don't think that people are any more free in a Capitalistic society than they are in a Communist one.

However its a crazy debate. Free is open to definition, your definition may well be different to mine.It means many things to pany people.

I know someone who declares that a mororcar gives them freedom.

That same person is afraid to go out at night because of all the "bad people" that they "know" are out there because of all the stories in the paper.

[edited by: mrMister at 6:27 pm (utc) on May 13, 2005]

Matt Probert




msg:921649
 6:25 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

It'll be another 4 years before any change happens at least. Please do not give the cretins in BBC management any credit for creating empty-hype, you'll only encourage them. Please see their statement for what it is, empty hype designed to appease the empty-headed.

I am also a former BBC employee, and can agree entirely. Those employees who speak out are sacked! (It happened to me).

That said, there are a large number of eccentrics at the BBC who manage to slip political messages and satire past the managers, such as the politics in Dr Who for example!

Matt

Sanenet




msg:921650
 6:37 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Weapons of mass destruction above us capable of being deployed within 45 seconds" :)

Seriously tho', if this is pushed through to it's logical conclusion - and with enough grassroots support from the web community, it will - it means that Joe Bloggs can tap into a series of web properties that have cost billions of GBPs to build. And that's good.

vincevincevince




msg:921651
 6:41 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

The title of this thread is wrong. The BBC have opened only the headlines, there is still no access to the articles, the content.

I also think that websites using the information that the license fee payer paid for should be bound by similar obligations and limitations as the BBC, including:
No third party advertising
Substantial public service obligations

zooloo




msg:921652
 7:14 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

The world is welcome to the bit of the BBC I pay for.

Glad you enjoy it, I do too.

zoo

xxxxxpp




msg:921653
 10:22 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

mrMister, I fully agree with everything you said in this thread. Great posts.

nutsandbolts




msg:921654
 11:58 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Personally, I think the BBC should put Google Ads in their feed and refund some of the telly tax back ;)

janethuggard




msg:921655
 12:53 am on May 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Mrmister...

Q: Was this a nice post?
A: Yes it was
Q: Did you think it through?
A: Yes you did
Q: Can you expect more of these kinds of posts where the person posing the question, also responds to it?
A: I believe that is a safe assumption

(I have no questions to pose on my old threads, though I would add Q&A to yours...my style :)

God job

Fairla




msg:921656
 1:32 am on May 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

mrMister, I am American and I read BBC news for the information I can't get from U.S. news sites. A lot of Americans are increasingly admiring the British way of doing things. I don't see how BBC having broad reach and worldwide influence is a bad thing for the British people. Quite the contrary. It is picking up where fat lazy America is leaving off. You should be proud of the BBC and proud to share it with the world, which needs its example.

mblair




msg:921657
 4:20 am on May 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Personally, it seems to me that this conversation is twisting towards the political realm -- which I thought was a no-no 'round here, and so I'll refrain from expressing my political thoughts about the BBC :-)

What I am curious about is what everybody thinks of the terms of usage as expressed on the BBC Backstage site. They seem pretty clear that the APIs and RSS are for non-commercial use only.

Their FAQ expounds upon this to say that Adwords and other generic advertising is okay "on the site" as long as it does not relate directly to the BBC-powered service/prototype/idea.

My question is -- what do you think they are getting at? Adwords would be OK on the site obviously but I am not so sure by their terms it would be if that were the primary emphasis of the page (for example, if they end up enabling full article text and it were used for a content page).

I am wondering if they are really going to be opening up the actual content at all or if this is just going to remain headlines, remixed and resliced in different ways.

If this is the case, then it seems like it would be a big win-win scenario for the BBC exposurewise for their site.

Sanenet




msg:921658
 8:28 am on May 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Do they need more exposure for their site?

Bottom line, I think that this is an interesting mixture between the Directors desire to comply with the terms of the Charter (information for all, entertain and instruct the masses, etc) and the desire of the backroom boys to show off in the style of the "real" internet - free information available to all.

Sure, it may start off small scale, but if it takes off, then whammo!

saoi_jp




msg:921659
 3:57 pm on May 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

can't we keep politics out of this?

dillonstars




msg:921660
 4:23 pm on May 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

My question is -- what do you think they are getting at? Adwords would be OK on the site obviously but I am not so sure by their terms it would be if that were the primary emphasis of the page (for example, if they end up enabling full article text and it were used for a content page).

Yes, it seems that someone wants to see thousands of BBC scraper sites with AdSense on them... Google must be licking their lips.

incrediBILL




msg:921661
 7:27 am on May 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ah now for something completely different.....

Monty Python fans understand, the rest of you can skip this post.

GlynMusica




msg:921662
 3:20 pm on May 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Excellent give spammers some more content to shrink wrap.

This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >
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