Innovation in Assembly

25 Mar

In order to explain web 2.0, the principle ‘The web as platform’ can not be excluded because the concept of the web depends on how to define platform. Traditionally, a platform means a framework on which applications may be run, and it offers APIs for interoperability with applications. In the age of web 1.0, a platform was OS, that is to say OS as platform. As this was somewhat limited, this was called a closed platform. There have been many attempts to overcome the limits and this has changed the concept of platform. In the age of web 2.0, a platform is no longer OS. These days, every website can be a platform. This means that applications can be applied anywhere on the web without any restriction. As applications provided by some websites can be run on other websites, many organisations have been striving to create new value by combining those applications or using some of them. In addition, the providers of applications have been trying to get benefits by being a component of other websites. This phenomenon has opened up infinite possibilities. It would be possible to make a website including all services which users often use, and a new kind of website would be created just by using open APIs from other websites. This is what we call  Innovation in Assembly. is one of sites which enhance their services using free APIs provided by other companies. Gumtree is an extensive network of online classifieds and community websites. It is designed to connect people who were either planning to move, or had just arrived in the city,  and needed help getting started with accommodation, employment and meeting new people. Gumtree now covers 60 cities across 6 countries – the UK, Ireland, Poland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It is the UK’s largest website for local community classifieds and was once one of the top 20 websites in the UK. One of the reasons why this has become a famous website is that this effectively uses web-based APIs. shows the location of accommodations or other places using the GoogleMaps API,  and enables users to save interesting advertisements to their own spaces by providing a Twitter API(Tweet button), a Facebook API(Like button) and so on. In addition, using these enables advertisements to be more widely publicized through social network.

In my case, the most useful thing is a Google Maps API. I mainly use this site to find a proper accommodation. In fact, I often lose my way, so it is very difficult for me to find my way to new place. For the reason, even if I found an advertisement about a good accommodation online, I often gave up it. Google Maps has become immeasurable help in solving this problem. Google Maps shows not only the location on the map but also the real exterior of the accommodation and the surrounding area through satellite pictures, so I can indirectly experience the place before going there. As this indirect experience makes me familiar with the place, I can easily find it when I try to reach the place actually. In my opinion, many people as well as I think that Google Maps is very useful. As a result, providing this API induces many people to use this website  because it is very important to show exact locations and enable people to find their destinations easily for this kind of websites. As users can directly use google Maps through this site, users can feel much more convenient when they use this site than other websites without this API. This seems to be the key to the fame of this website.

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8 Responses to “Innovation in Assembly”

  1. Elizabeth Gorsuch March 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    I liked your explanation of a platform. is a good example of innovation in assembly, as it creates its own content then uses API’s to enhance the information given to users.

    • subinkim March 28, 2012 at 7:39 am #

      Thanks for your comment. Use of various APIs really enhances functions to achieve a goal. In fact, if does not offer Google Maps API, I might not use this site to find a good accommodation.

  2. osfernandes March 29, 2012 at 6:10 am #

    Hi there, interesting how Gumtree have grown from local classified ads and community site in London and now part of local communities in 11 countries around the world. What makes that growth is the use and evolution of Internet technologies. This website now is part of eBay community sharing their database to expand business.
    Thanks for the post…good to know what sort of website are really into WEB2.0 and growing with it.

    🙂 take a look on my posts on

    • subinkim March 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

      Thank you for your comment and giving more detail information.
      It’s very interesting to know the website which is growing with open APIs. We can learn many things from their success story.

  3. meretehole March 29, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    So,are Gumtrees applications made from the developers of that site, or do they have an open API, so users can contribute? I didn’t really get it 😛

    • subinkim March 29, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

      As mentioned above, is an example using open APIs. This site has been growing with open APIs. Even though Gumtree hasn’t developed special technologies, it has become a big company. I think that the reason is it understand the nature of web 2.0 very well and it effectively uses the nature. This site shows how open APIs can enhance services and why use of open APIs is important.

      Thanks for comment.

      • meretehole March 30, 2012 at 4:22 am #

        Well explained. Thanks! It’s fascinating to see what a competitive advantage companies that embrace the web 2.0. development get. What do you think of this evolvement? Do you see companies not adapting dying?

      • subinkim April 1, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

        I don’t think those companies will definitely die if they don’t apply web 2.0 patterns. However, I’m sure that using web 2.0 patterns will improve their services quickly and easily, and this will help success in their businesses.

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