Thursday, January 3, 2013

Will Google+ Ever Get A Full Read/Write API?

The link to the full story is here

Depending on who you ask, Google+ is either a thriving social network and the most important backbone of Google’s social efforts, or a deserted wasteland where a small clique of fans keeps the lights on. I tend to think it’s doing quite alright for Google, but I also know that I would use it far more if I could use a desktop client (and maybe one that combines Twitter, Facebook and Google+) to read and post updates. Google, however, has steadfastly refused to launch a full read/write API for Google+.

At I/O earlier this year, the company’s representatives said that they don’t want to “disrupt something very special” and “magical” by just letting third-party apps post to it. What Google wants to avoid, it seems, is auto-posting news updates, cross-posted tweets, and other updates it considers to be of low value to its users. Google also wants to keep full control over the Google+ user experience. While it has whitelisted a few tools like Hootsuite and Engage121 and now allows them to post to Google+, there are currently no consumer-oriented tools for directly interacting with Google+ without going to the site.

Sure, there are the Google+ buttons, a basic read API and the Hangouts API for those who want to run video chats and a few other tools, too, but unlike Twitter, which despite its recent kerfuffles with developers still enables lots of interesting third-party services, Google+ still feels very insular. If I want to post a picture to it from my phone, I have to use the Google+ app. If I want to post an update, I have to use the Google+ app. But while that app is actually quite good, I’m pretty sure we would see a lot more innovation and interesting use cases for Google+ if the company made it easier for developers to really start using it as a platform.

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