Google Not Interested in Screwing Over Developers
Written by Ian Elliot   
Thursday, 02 August 2012

Google's Vic Gundot, Senior VP of Engineering and the man in charge of Google+, has apologized for not making a full read/write API available. The reason given is that Google doesn't want to do a rush job and so "screw over developers" like Facebook has.

However, you have to read more carefully to see exactly what Google is promising not to do.

The "apology" seems to have been in response to a post by Dalton Caldwell describing how Facebook treated his company. Basically Facebook said that its product was in competition with Facebook's recently announced App Center. The choice was to be acquired or shutdown. Twitter is also well known for this sort of controlling approach to developers.


So Google's informal response is a good thing as it reassures developers that nothing like this could ever happen. Or does it?

"I get a lot of heat for not releasing a full write API for Google+. At SXSW I was even booed by developers in the audience when I said we were not ready to open an API.

I've repeatedly stated the reason - I'm not interested in screwing over developers. When we open an API, we want developers to feel confident that the innovations they build are going to be long lasting. Releasing an API, and then later changing the rules of the game isn't fun for anyone, especially developers who've spent their life's energies building on the platform."

So basically Google is being slow and careful to build an API that won't result in Google having to pull the plug on developers who encroach on its profit-making territory. This is a really praiseworthy approach in that at least it isn't going to do what Facebook, and in particular Twitter, did in using developers to fill the holes in its infrastructure only to take over anything that works and seems to be making a profit.

But when you analyze it, what Google is saying is that it will be constructing an API that restricts what you can do from the word go so that you don't tread on Google's financial toes.

The post closes with:

"So I'm sorry that we haven't released a wide open write API for those of you who want one. We're being careful because we want to be different. You know, actually respectful of developers who build on our platform. It's novel. I know."

It really isn't that novel in the sense that Google is building another walled garden.It may eventually release an open API for Google+ but not in the sense that you can use it to do anything. There are clearly going to be missing components that will restrict what you can do. Open perhaps, but all embracing - no.




More Information

Dalton Caldwell - Dear Mark Zuckerberg

Gundotra's Google+ post

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I Programmer's Google+ page

Google+ Product Not Platform?






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Last Updated ( Thursday, 02 August 2012 )