Google Gets Less Social With Two More Closed APIs

Google continues to clean its API house, knocking another couple APIs into the dustbin. Google Social Graph API was launched in 2008 with high hopes of an open social standard. The Picnik API is a photo editing service that Google acquired and incorporated into Picasa and most recently, Google Plus.

The announcement post explains the reason behind these two decisions:

  • Picnik: We acquired this online photo editor in 2010. We’re retiring the service on April 19, 2012 so the Picnik team can continue creating photo-editing magic across Google products. You can download a zip file of your creations through Picnik Takeout or copy them to Google+. As of now, the premium service is free to everyone. Premium members will receive a full refund in the coming weeks.
  • Social Graph API: This API makes information about the public connections between people on the web available for developers. The API isn’t experiencing the kind of adoption we’d like, and is being deprecated as of today. It will be fully retired on April 20, 2012.

One of the reasons the Social Graph API did not catch on, perhaps, is because many people were joining Facebook at that same time. There was not a social service tied to Google's graph as there now is with the Facebook Graph API. However, one of the tradeoffs is that Facebook's approach has not always been open to the greater web, as the Social Graph API aimed. I expect that the Google Plus API will be where Google attempts to include graph features in the future, but the downside is that identity will still be connected to its service, as opposed to more open options.

PicnikPicnik is one of a handful of APIs that Google acquired. The service allowed developers to incorporate editing tools into their apps. Google integrated Picnik with its Picasa photo editor and recently into Google Plus photos. If developers are looking for similar services, we list 8 photo editing APIs.

Google's APIs are creeping up toward 100, but with these changes there are now 16 deadpooled Google APIs. There were a number of Google API deprecations in 2011, most notably the Google Translate API. That caused such a developer uproar that Google is now charging for the translation API rather than closing it down.

Via Aaron Hockley