Using the Application Programming Interface (API), programmers will be able to develop personalised applications embedding Guardian content, without having to alter the original source codes, as well as store statistics compiled by the Guardian using Data Store. In the past, data put together by the Guardian would appear in a box in the newspaper, after which time, there was no way of retrieving the same data boxes unless it appeared again in another related article. Now, more than 80 different datasets will be made available, ensuring that such information - including child poverty figures, for example - is made easily accessible to all and exploited to its full potential.
Guardian News & Media director of digital content, Emily Bell, heralded the introduction of the Open Platform system as a "new chapter in our history and a new foundation for the future of our journalism".
Bell said that Open Platform will enable users to weave Guardian material "into the fabric of the internet", potentially adding value and functionality to many sites, as well as also making Guardian content more relevant, interactive and multi-functional. One such organisation to already be using Guardian.co.uk content to support its website is the Cass Sculpture Foundation, which ties in Guardian articles on British artists promoted on its site.
According to the Guardian Open Platform Data blog, the service is currently running as a beta trial on a limited basis, whilst the Guardian figures out how exactly it may be of use to its partners. The Guardian also has plans to expand on the services it provides and is currently looking into ad networks and an application platform it is thinking to introduce some time in the future.
The Editors Weblog looked at some of the few sites known to have already partnered with the Guardian in this way and none appeared to have any "intrusive" Guardian advertising, although how this may change over time is uncertain.
What is certain, however, is that this latest venture is mostly seen as a positive step forward for journalism, particularly today, as newspapers hit hard by recession try and carve out a new and more relevant role for themselves in these changing times. Localised content-sharing seems to be one way newspapers are working hard to achieve this.
One UK MP, Tom Watson, described the Guardian launch of Open Platform as "revolutionary" and "a chiasmic leap into the future." Watson believes this will have a profound knock-on effect not only on journalism itself, but also on governments and believes it is only a matter of time before they too start using similar programmes.
Other content-sharing partnerships include the New York Times, which joined forces with EveryBlock - a news service which enables readers to access public information relevant to their local area by inputting a town name or zip code - to automatically update EveryBlock users every time a locally elected representative is mentioned in the newspaper. More recently, the American newspaper announced the launch of two hyperlocal news sites.
The Guardian is among only a small number of newspapers to be at the forefront of technological innovation within the industry. In the last few months alone, it has integrated both its digital and print operations, opened up staff conferences using video and just a few weeks ago it mentioned plans to relaunch its mobile site, scheduled for later this March.