Google+ would have a full read and write API today if the world’s largest search engine company knew how to release it in a way that wouldn’t screw developers. At least, that’s what Google’s senior vice president for Google+ implied in a personal status update.
Developers’ biggest complaint about Google+ is that the social service does not have a full write API, meaning that no tools can be written to add data to Google+ … only to pull data out.
(At least, not a public API — select companies such as Hootsuite have been granted access to publish to Google+.)
Yesterday, Google senior VP of engineering Vic Gundotra noticed that Facebook was taking heat from a developer who is building a competing service to Facebook: Dalton Caldwell. Yes, the same Dalton Caldwell who is now running a $500,000 KickStarter project to replace all current social networks with App.net. (Good luck with that, by the way.)
Caldwell’s previous project, a friend-discovery app that used Facebook to find acquaintances, was essentially shut down by Facebook, mostly due to changes in Facebook’s business model and API. Those changes relate, Caldwell says, to Facebook’s need for more revenue.
It’s not unfamiliar … it’s part of the same progression that Twitter is possibly maybe probably going through right now: utility to media company. Control the community -> control the content -> control the product -> control the advertisers -> control the cash.
Gundotra was quick to take advantage of the opportunity to skewer Facebook … and present Google+ as a better option, eventually:
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 that is why, more than a year after the initial launch of Google+, Google still has not released a full public API. It’s all about developers, and their life energies!
But, Gundotra hints, one is eventually coming:
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.
The developer community waits, no doubt with baited breath.
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