Despite the fact that Google has been slowly launching more APIs for Google+, don’t expect the company to launch a full read/write API anytime soon. During a Google+ platform fireside chat at Google I/O today, Google+ VP Bradley Horowitz and other members of the Google+ team said that Google is still taking a very deliberate approach to Google+’s APIs. The company, Horowitz said, doesn’t want to “disrupt something very special” and “magical” by just opening up a full read/write API that would allow developers to write apps that can easily post to Google+.
During the I/O session today, the team acknowledged that Google is quietly running a number of experiments with a few select partners to figure out what kind of automatic sharing actually works on Google+. Given Google’s data-driven approach, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the company is actually measuring how much engagement these posts are getting to fine-tune what kind of automatic sharing works on the service. Google, however, wants to make sure it avoids unintentional consequences that could disturb the kind of experience Google is hoping for on Google+.
Overall, Horowitz was very clear in his denouncement of automated posts. “They don’t really work,” he said. Instead, Google’s experiments currently focus on very filtered sharing features that, for example, let you share certain posts from third-party apps to very specific circles. With the new Google+ History API, of course, Google has already released some tools that will soon let third-party developers share content to Google+, but these tools won’t be able to post to Google+ automatically. Instead, users have to pick and choose the content that will appear in their streams later.
The Google+ team also reiterated that it wants to give developers tools that will be stable and around for a long time. Google doesn’t want to provide developers with tools that will turn out to be moving targets they then have to chase.
It’s also possible, the Google+ team said, that a platform that has insufficient guidelines doesn’t nudge people in the right way. Only Google, of course, knows what that “right way” really is, but Horowitz stressed that Google wants Google+ to be “something more than just ego-casting” and a place for watering virtual plants.
What’s encouraging for those hoping for a more complete API, though, is that Google wants to figure out “how to get content in the stream that makes sense for users and developers.” Don’t expect to get access to a full read/write API for Google+ anytime soon, though.
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...