eBay bids for developers with latest round of API updates

E-commerce giant eBay has announced its latest round of API updates ahead of the company's annual developer conference in San Jose.

As is the current industry trend, eBay is adding some AI magic. Its latest features use the firm’s custom-built computer vision and deep learning technology.

Developers are now able to incorporate new computer vision-based eBay features including Image Search, drag-and-drop visual shopping, and Find It On eBay into their own platforms.

Image Search and Find It On eBay launched in 2017 but until now has not been available to third-party developers.

Much like Google’s image search, eBay’s implementation allows shoppers to upload an image to find results on its platform ranked by similarity. Find It On eBay is similar but users can submit URLs to find similar listings instead.

Deals site Wikibuy is already using the Image Search API for an ‘eBay visual search’ feature on its mobile app.

Kyle Schumacher, Head of Partnerships at Wikibuy, commented:

“We’re excited to be one of the first that have access to eBay’s Image Search API to leverage the latest computer vision technology tools and bring new ways to shop to our customers.

This feature makes it easier for our customers to find what they are looking for—using pictures instead of words.”

Encountering difficulties first-hand in translating between English and Mandarin, eBay is also opening up its Machine Translation API to ease the process for other developers. Other languages will be supported in the future.

Several existing APIs have been updated:

  • Buy APIs – All of the Buy APIs (Feed, Search, Item, Checkout, Order and Marketing) are now available in the US, UK, and Germany. More geographies are coming soon.  

  • Inventory API – Developers can now migrate a seller’s listings to the Inventory model in one shot, instead of migrating them in small batches. Bulk endpoints have been added for all entities so developers can serve large sellers efficiently.

  • Trading API – Developers can now remove variations from MSKU listings that have transactions. This will help sellers ensure that the listings are compliant with eBay’s Product-Based Shopping Experience by adding products from the eBay catalog to the variation. Sellers can also now remove secondary category, best offer, and charity from their existing listings.

  • Fulfilment API – This API is now available in eight additional territories including the US, UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, France, Italy, and Spain. eBay has updated the Fulfillment API in Australia to support the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Finally, the company is providing OpenAPI specifications for all of its RESTful public APIs. With OpenAPI, developers can download an eBay OpenAPI contract, generate code, and successfully call an eBay API within minutes.

Ole Lensmar, OpenAPI Initiative Business Governing Chair, said:

"We are thrilled to continue our partnership with eBay. Their commitment to the latest version of the OpenAPI Specification is another example of how the OAS has evolved to become the defacto standard in API design.

The entire OpenAPI community benefits when innovative companies like eBay build their brand on top of open source standards and reinvest the efficiencies back to the development of the specification."

eBay says its external developers drove more than $9.6 billion of gross merchandise volume globally and more than 2.1 billion new listings in Q1 2018 alone.

Gail Frederick, GM of eBay Portland and VP, Developer Ecosystem, said: “eBay’s success depends on our talented developer community building quality applications for buying and selling.”

Today’s announcements show a clear ramp-up in the company’s developer strategy.

What are your thoughts on eBay’s developer announcements? Let us know in the comments.

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