Social web research made easy with YQL and the Yahoo Firehose

If you want to know what the buzz on the social web is about right now there are a few places you can start. Twitter search, Google live search results, Facebook - almost every "web 2.0 service" has a means to search and find out what's hot right now.

This can however take a lot of time which is why it would be cool to have one service that covers a lot of different destinations. There is one, which is the Yahoo Firehose which is available through YQL. Check the following screencast to see it in action:

The Yahoo Firehose has a lot of different update sources in one simple XML feed. Right now, we support the following sources (also listed in the Yahoo social API documentation): Yahoo! 360, AOL, Bebo, Blogger, Bloglines, Digg, Diigo, Goodreads, Google, Google Reader,, Ma.gnolia, Movable Type, Netflix, Pandora, Picasa, Pownce, Seesmic, Slideshare, SmugMug, StumbleUpon, ThisNext, TravelPod, Tumblr, Twitter, TypePad, Vimeo, Vox, Webshots, Xanga, Yelp, YouTube, Zooomr, Yahoo! Avatars, Yahoo! Buzz, Yahoo! Profiles, Wisteria, Yahoo! Answers, Yahoo! Shopping, Yahoo! Autos, Bix for Yahoo!, Yahoo! Bookmarks, Yahoo! Briefcase, Yahoo! Calendar, Yahoo! Classifieds, Delicious, Yahoo! Family, Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo! Finance, Flickr, Yahoo! Food, Yahoo! Games, Yahoo! Geocities, Yahoo! Green, Yahoo! Greetings, Yahoo! Groups, Yahoo! Health, Yahoo! Hotjobs, Yahoo! Kids, Yahoo! Local, Yahoo! Movies, Yahoo! Music, MyBlogLog, Yahoo! News, OMG! from Yahoo!, Yahoo! Personals, Yahoo! Pets, Yahoo! Status Updates, Yahoo! Guestbook Comments, SearchMonkey from Yahoo!, Yahoo! Shopping, Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo! Tech, Yahoo! Travel, Yahoo! TV, Yahoo! Video.

Quite a yield for a single search request, right?

Whilst YQL is amazing for data junkies and developers, it is not the most accessible interface for researchers and editors. This is why we put together a research interface on top of the Yahoo Firehose:

You can see the research interface in action here but more importantly, the source code of the interface is available on GitHub which means that you can host it yourself - for example behind a firewall or make it part of your Intranet.

In order to install the research interface you need to sign up for a developer key on, edit the keys.php file accordingly, put all the files up on your PHP enabled server and you are done. If you get stuck you can get help on the YDN Forums.