import.io is a most interesting new service able to change the way data of websites are handled. The service automaticly creates datasets out of websites and creates api interfaces to process the created datasets. In its description the service even notes that the service turns “ … any website into a table of data or an api … „, but while visiting the service it remains unclear of such an api may be used to equip a website to make the data available to all. But the service provides a data homepage to the users, where they are able to connect generated data of various websites to create a meta service. At the end users are able to export the data and at least at this point the data may become accessible to others by being imported elsewhere.
One may think about copyright issues at this point, but the service is doing something amazing, This may change the way information is handled and accessed by everyone. Everything is done by marking relevant parts of a website. After doing so the service will find its way and create a table of the marked part and similar parts of a website. After this users may make adjustments. To start the creating process import.io is providing various tools. To access data a special browser and a plugin to the Chrome browser is available. Websites aiming to make their data accessible may integrate an api provided by the service.
The service is the latest in a range of so called pipe services, which are able to connect various different services to automate processes. Similar services are IFTTT, Yahoo Pipes and Zapier. But all these mentioned services are able to use existing apis to make something new. The innovative thing with import.io is that it does make out of common sites datasets and that it makes these data processable by creating new apis: import.io.