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By Iago Toral Quiroga.
Multimedia has grown to be a major component in modern life. Technology has evolved remarkably and nowadays people have access to embedded and mobile devices that pack an incredible computing power, being able to playback audio and even high definition video for hours. But multimedia has also grown on the Internet, with lots of sites specializing in offering different kinds of multimedia content that people are used to consume every day: watching videos on Youtube or Vimeo, listening to music from services like LastFM or Jamendo, listening to the radio on the Internet,... not to speak of the growth of home networks offering multimedia content through the use of UPnP. As if this wasn't enough, smartphones are gaining more and more momentum and in little time they will be common place just as laptops are today, these small gadgets come with incredible multimedia and connectivity capabilities that allow users to enjoy all this content almost anywhere in the world at any moment.
However, from a user perspective, accessing and enjoying all this content is not an easy task yet: it is all scattered throughout many different services, many of them available only through the use of a web browser (not very convenient in general but even less in devices with small screens) or the use of specific applications for specific services (not very convenient either, since users end up having many different applications to do the same thing in the end: browse, search and locate multimedia content they are interested in). To solve this we created Grilo, a project that tries to provide a single, high level API for application developers that hides all the complexity related to dealing with all these heterogeneous content providers. Grilo eases remarkably the development of multimedia applications that try to integrate multimedia content from various sources, which in the end, enables multimedia application developers to create more integrated solutions that lead to a better user experience.