A week ago, we noted the talk amongst developers that a Google+ API could be months away. The next day, we learned that Google was reaching out to “trusted” developers — among them, Google Ventures-backed startups — to try out their early stab at the API. Google was not happy we found this out (and went on a witch hunt to find the leaker) — so it shouldn’t be too surprising that today they’re announcing some initial APIs for everyone to use.
As they post on the Google+ Platform Blog, the initial API is ready to go, but it’s limited. The focus right now is only on publicly-shared data (so no Circles) and it’s read-only. Still, this initial release should placate many of the developers who have been asking for any access to Google+ data since day one.
But the main focus of Google+ is clearly on the Circles sharing concept. The API for that is probably one that everyone is really waiting for. And that one could be a ways off since it involves complex connections and tricky privacy implications. Even more important will be the write API. But again, with the Circles element, it’s complicated.
Google’s Chris Chabot talks a bit more about this initial API on, where else, Google+.
“These APIs allow you to retrieve the public profile information and public posts of the Google+ users, and they lay the foundation for us to build on together – Nothing great is ever built in a vacuum so I’m excited to start the conversation about what the Google+ platform should look like,” he writes.
And Google may need a full API sooner rather than later.
A Google project headed by Vic Gundotra and Bradley Horowitz, Google+ is designed to be the social extension of Google. Its features focus on making online sharing easy for users. “Circles,” think social circles, akin to Facebook’s lists. “Sandbar,” a user-unifying toolbar. “Sparks,” a search engine for sharing content between users. “Messenger,” a group messaging app that allows users to share with certain “Circles.” “Hangouts,” group video chatting designed to allow up to 10 users video chat at once. Each Google+ user can replace his...