The Writable Google Plus API Developers May Not Want

Adam DuVander
Jul. 11 2012, 01:09PM EDT

It's been ten months since the Google Plus API was released and over a year that the platform itself has existed. And still there's no way to write content into Google Plus. Or is there? Though it didn't make the major Google I/O announcements, the search giant did release a sort-of writable Google Plus API for developer preview. It's just not the writable API we all expected.

Since the launch of Google Plus, developers have been puzzled that there's no way to add content to the social platform. In fact, there was no API at all for two months. We guessed that the Google Plus API was intentionally late.

APIs at Google I/O received little fanfare--no skydiving to deliver a writable Google Plus API, for example. No API announcements at all during the keynotes. However, there was a new addition to the Google Plus API. It's writable and it's called the History API. Here's how Google describes it:

When you sign up for the developer preview, your site or app will be able to privately save moments, such as a listened song, or a visited restaurant, to your users’ Google+ history. From there, your users can, if they want, share those moments with others, directly to the stream and/or on their profile. In all cases, moments in history include attribution of your site or app.

The key here, for Google, is that the Google Plus user still visits the site to publish these "moments." It's intentional sharing, not social littering, and the click is the part that makes it so. But that's also what makes it not seem like a writable API to developers, who imagined syndicating tweets to Google Plus or incorporating direct posting into a client app.

Instead, Google Plus History sounds more like a locked-down Facebook actions. But at least one developer lauded it in a Robert Scoble Google Plus thread:

The history api wins hands down. Its control it perfect. We just need developers to take a risk and get working on some really great apps for G+. Ill be adding the history API to all of my forums when it rolls out.

The History API may not be the writable Google Plus API we all desired. Google has made it clear the company is being careful about what type of content it encourages in its social network. And since it's Google's sandbox, it decides how we all participate. Still, this is a way to write content to Google Plus, so it's silly for developers to turn their noses up to it. And perhaps it's a sign of more to come.

Adam DuVander -- Adam heads developer relations at Orchestrate, a database-as-a-service company. He's spent many years analyzing APIs and developer tools. Previously he worked at SendGrid, edited ProgrammableWeb and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101.

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[...] Since the launch of Google Plus, developers have been puzzled that there's no way to add content to the social platform. In fact, there was no API at all for two months. We guessed that the Google Plus API was intentionally … Go [...]

[...] But that's also what makes it not seem like a writable API to developers, who imagined syndicating tweets to Google Plus or incorporating direct posting into a client app. Instead, Google Plus History sounds more like a … Go [...]

[...] The Writable Google Plus API Developers May Not Want Google Plus It's been ten months since the Google Plus API was released and over a year that the platform itself has existed. And still there's no way to write content into Google Plus. Or is there? Though it didn't make the major Google I/O … Read more on ProgrammableWeb (blog) [...]