Gnip to bridge the data divide for noisy Web services
One service is attempting to find a way to keep noise-heavy services from bucking.
Josh LowensohnFormer Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
One of the key concerns for any fledgling start-up is overload. Too many users trying to get at your data is one thing, but dealing with the onslaught of notifications and data pings from connecting services can be quite another.
A new start-up called Gnip is trying to solve this problem by acting as the middleman. Got a service like Twitter that's getting attacked in a thousand different directions by services trying to get at that data? Sending any new bits of information to Gnip will keep that attack coming on their end instead of yours, which will hopefully keep your service running a lot smoother, no matter how many folks are using it. ReadWriteWeb is calling it a "Grand Central Station for the social Web."
In a perfect world, services that used this system could open up their APIs a little to encompass more activity, leading to faster third-party tools that take advantage of that data. Users would also be getting faster notifications and conceivably less downtime due to overload.
Sounds great for everyone, right?
Unfortunately, all of this will not be available from the get-go. Gnip is starting out by offering a notification service only, with polling, transformation, and identification coming later. Notifications are one of the main overloaders though, especially for services like Twitter that have had to throttle the amount of times any external service can ping it for data. There are also concerns about what happens if everyone starts relying on Gnip to pipe data to third-party tools, and the tool goes down--leading to something similar to when Amazon's S3 has had blips, taking out entire businesses for hours at a time.