Posted by Brady Mills

Google+ Now Open for Developers

September 18, 2011

Google+ has gained a lot of attention over the last several months, as the user base has quickly grown and the expansive security features have added a new dimension to social networking. One of my biggest concerns as a developer has been the extensive integration of Facebook APIs across the web and the lack of this level of integration ability with Google+. It seems this may be changing.

Chris Chabot, a Google developer advocate, announced, “I’m super excited about how the Google+ project brings the richness and nuance of real life sharing to software, and today we’re announcing our first step towards bringing this to your apps as well by launching the Google+ public data APIs.”

Chabot continued, “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.”

A look at the Google+ Developers Site shows that we are in the early stages of development. As the site states, “This initial set [of APIs] is focused on providing read access to public data. We’ll be adding more APIs over time to build on this foundation and help you create more types of integrations”

Google+ currently has a restricted usage quota and some functionality is currently disabled, until we move further out of the Beta period. Currently Google is using this period to evaluate the APIs and gather feedback. Google says, “This should provide enough access for you to check out the APIs and to start integrating Google+ with your apps.”

The Google APIs Client Libraries are available as betas for .NET, Java, PHP, and Python. They’re also available as alpha code for the Google Web Toolkit, Objective C and Ruby. Much like Facebook, when you access this data it’s sent to you in the familiar JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) encoded format.

Chabot continued, “Because we’re starting with public data only, you simply need to register your app before making requests. And if you aren’t yet sure which Google+ user is running your app (for example, because they’re installing it for the first time), then you can use the new OAuth2 [a security protocol that enables users to grant third-party access to their web resources without sharing their passwords]-scope to ask the user who they are.”

In addition, Chabot states that “Our API methods are RESTful [REpresentational State Transfer] HTTP requests which return JSON responses.” And, “Our payload formats use standard syntax (e.g. PoCo (Portable Contacts) for people info and or activities).”

Chabot asks that you keep in mind, “three simple guidelines that we aspire to in our own products, and that we’d like all applications built on the Google+ platform to follow also: put the user first, be transparent, and respect user data. The goal behind these guidelines, as with all of the features and fine print, is to work together to build products that our users will love.”

So, what are you waiting for? Google+ Code!

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