Yahoo! Address Book API Delivered

We’re excited to announce the public release of the Address Book API. I say public release because while the API is newly launched here on YDN, it’s been up and running with some of the most contact-aware applications on the Internet, including Plaxo and LinkedIn.

It’s been a long time coming, both for us and for all of you. Yes, we see the question come up often on the ydn-mail: Developer Community group and we’re pleased beyond measure to finally be able release the API.

This new API provides access to one of the largest collections of address books on the Internet--the contact system behind Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Messenger, and Yahoo! Go. This means your applications already have a built-in audience. The Address Book API supports a wide range of third-party apps, such as sending invitations to seed social networks or social apps, looking up postal addresses for shipping services for online retail, and providing address "auto-complete" for messaging apps.

The API has extensive search capabilities. Once a user authorizes your application, you’ll be able to easily access that user’s address book and look for specific contacts. If you want to see which contacts are new, you can ask what’s changed since the last time you accessed the API. More details are available in the documentation.

Here are some highlights of what you can do with the API:

  • Obtain unique identifiers (i.e., email addresses) to help build a social network.
  • Look up phone numbers for mobile and SMS applications.
  • Look up email addresses for content-sharing applications. For example, you can enhance the "share with friend" capability of your site. Make it easy for users to look up their contacts by combining the Address Book API with the YUI auto-complete widget.
  • Make it a breeze for your users to send gifts easily. They can add addresses from their Yahoo! Address Book with almost no typing.

While we are excited about what the Address Book API can do, we are just as excited about how it works. Today, the new API provides access to a user’s Address Book via BBAuth (our browser-based authentication). Users authorize your application to access their address book data through the Yahoo! login process. Access to their address book data is done safely.

What about OAuth? Support for OAuth is coming, my friends, in due time… Seriously. At Yahoo! we’re already doing a lot with OAuth (think Fire Eagle) and it’s a big part of our plans.

The new Yahoo! Address Book API unlocks the relationships that Yahoo! members have developed on Yahoo! and makes them easy to tap into on your site. We hope you love it as much as we do and we can't wait to see what you build!

Charles Wu
Product Manager, Yahoo! Address Book platform