Google has launched Google Code Labs, a central place where developers can find links to the early-stage Google products. With over 60 Google APIs already available on Google Code (Google’s general code site), the company is using the Code Labs group to engage the greater developer community in the early-stage product and API ideation process.
Google Code Labs will also include its most popular APIs and tools for “Labs graduates” such as Google Maps, Google Earth, YouTube and more. The list of APIs for applications that are still in the Labs development process include Calendar Gadgets , Toolbar and Gears. In order for an API to graduate from Labs, the code needs to pass through a rigorous set of standards, including the need for a “dedicated, ongoing engineering team and a comprehensive test suite.”
Google is also differentiating between which established products have published with a deprecation policy and which “graduated” products are still in “experimental” development.
Google Developer Products Director Tom Stocky said in a blog post:
For these graduates, we’re increasing our commitment with published deprecation policies and other critical support services. The Visualization API terms, Contacts Data API terms, and Picasa Web Albums Data API terms include good examples of transparent deprecation policies. They state that we’ll support each version for at least 3 years from when it’s deprecated or a newer version is introduced. We’re working to get policies posted for the other graduates as well, though the time period may vary a bit from product to product. It will be 3 years for most, but it might be less for some. The AdWords API, for example, has a policy of supporting old versions for 4 months.
Of course, even established products need a way to experiment with new features. With that in mind, some products will have features labeled “experimental” that could change (or even be removed) at any time, while the rest of the API is covered by a deprecation policy with long-term support.