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It's been a year since developers were underwhelmed by the first release of the Google Plus API. The search engine's nascent social network has gained in popularity and even improved its developer tools, but it is still lacking the main feature many developers request--a writable Google Plus API.
Google has a lot of APIs, more than any other company we track. Perhaps as part of adding many APIs, the search giant also has to remove them from time to time. Recently the company has become more liberal in its platform pruning, with at least three separate announcements this year. Most recently Google dropped three more APIs, including the Google Buzz API.
A survey of API experiences raised some of the largest problems developers encounter, including which companies cause them. The Facebook API was mentioned far and away more than any other in long-form answers to questions about headaches, horror stories and other issues while integrating with APIs. Also mentioned often were Google APIs and the Twitter API. While it should be noted that all three are also among the most popular for developers, there are lessons to be learned in mining the results of this survey put out to Hacker News readers.
Google's new social tool Google Plus has barely been released for two weeks, but already it's seeming like the feature most needed is an API. The most popular functionality of Google Plus, sharing content with one's "circles," is similar to what users are already doing on Twitter and Facebook. Perhaps the delay in releasing a Google Plus API is about forcing people to give Google's interface a go?
Less than a month ago, Google made all public activities available via its "firehose." Last week, the search giant updated the Buzz API again with several interesting features, including a limited firehose, which is calls a "garden hose."
Every single public message on Google Buzz, the content-sharing platform from the search giant, is now available to any developer. A similar, if much fatter, pipe is available from Twitter, but only for large partners paying big bucks. Accessing the "firehose" is about the same any other API, which makes it an easy way to get a lot of content quickly.
There is a new wave of mapping APIs that are helping developers provide better location feedback to users. These "reverse geocoders" do more than just return an address. Instead, they provide meaningful names associated with the place, such as a business. In some cases, it gets even more specific.
Google Buzz is a new service that takes aim at Facebook and Twitter by providing the ability to post links, photos and status updates directly from your Gmail account. And right off the bat Google has released the accompanying API.