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Digg API changes could mean profit for developers

Digg tweaks its API with new features and much lighter restrictions on what third-party developers are able to do with applications they create.

On Tuesday Digg announced big changes to its API that should make third-party developers happy--and maybe even rich.

The most major one being that the company has let up on its use for commercial applications, meaning that developers will be able to create services that take advantage of Digg's content and community without first having to ask for permission from the company. This includes pulling in content from the service and either charging to do so, or including on-page advertisements--two things which kept application developers from making a profit, or even charging for their creations.

The old and new grant of license for the Digg API. (Click to enlarge.)

The updated application programming interface also includes:

    • Access to the site's search engine which was overhauled back in early April. This lets developers add search to their own apps, and use all of the specific modifiers and domain filters that are found on Digg proper.

    • Access to stories people have marked as favorites, as well as the related stories and keywords on any item they may be viewing. This is something that Digg rolled out late last year on its story pages and has kept more users clicking on other stories within Digg

Digg VP of engineering John Quinn says that following this release, the Digg API will finally be updated to allow third-party applications to "participate" on items on the site. This includes digging and burying stories, along with commenting, "favoriting," and marking stories as inaccurate or lame. Until then, even with these updates, all third-party applications are simply viewing activity from users who are accessing the site from Digg or Digg mobile.