If you are anything like me, an active user of many types of online social media and platforms, you soon find that, although much of your personal history is available online, it is disjointed and scattered over many separate sites. Also, many social media sites today have a very short “memory” in the sense that even though your data from months and years ago is still there, it can be very hard to find/access in a way that makes sense. Either you have to browse back through many pages or use keyword searches which give you new and old entries mixed together.
With Memolane, we gather your content, your memories, from all these different places and present them in a unified timeline.
At Memolane, I fill the role of Service Integration Lead, meaning that it is my job to make sure that the content from the sites we wish to integrate actually finds its way onto users Memolanes. Through this work I have experienced both the best, and the worst of the social media API’s out there. And believe me, there are some nasty ones
While YouTube was not among the very first services we choose to integrate, it was always high on our list. Having done a Picasa integration early on, getting content from YouTube proved very simple, as the underlying GData API is the same, and we are just requesting a different set of fields from YouTube than we do for Picasa. Pagination is also a bit different between the two, but still very straight forward. All in all, the GData API is one of the nicest APIs I have worked with so far in that it is very concise and allows you to fetch only the specific fields you are interested in (out of a huge selection of available data). Being very selective about the data you request has a huge impact on the performance of the integration, as the amount of data transferred for each reply can be cut down dramatically. A few sticky points remain though. For example, when requesting an authenticated user’s favorite videos, it returns a list of all videos, but videos from other users that are not publicly viable are returned without an actual video component. This makes sense as YouTube cannot guarantee that external sites/apps respect this privacy setting, but in my view it would make more sense not to include these videos at all.
With the YouTube integration we chose to do something that we had not done with any of the other services that we had integrated so far. We also decided to include the list of videos that users have marked as favorites, and add these to a users Memolane. The reasoning behind this was that few users upload that many videos, but often you will be able to find someone else who uploaded a cool clip from a party, concert or other event that you attended.
So, how does YouTube on Memolane look? Well, since this is about YouTube, I figured a link to a YouTube memo would be most appropriate!
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Nikolaj Hald Nielsen
API & Service Integration Lead, Co Founder