December 19, 2015
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Why is it that the most common questions people have about providing open APIs are often about monetization? While there are many possible answers, two reasons that stand out are: a) the API is a distribution channel, and when you think new distribution channel there is an expectation around revenue opportunities; and b) if you are the person in your company trying to define the business case for an API to the executive team, there is a big hurdle to overcome, because business executives tend to see an API as a cost center and want to know how to measure the pay-off.
Was 2010 the year of the API? Some have claimed this each of the last five years, with the next always eclipsing the previous. There were 1,019 new APIs added to our API directory in 2010, two times the number added in 2009. Greater trends on the web are being played out, as social APIs were the most popular and the influence of mobile is clear.
One of the key benefits that the cloud brings to developers is the promise of reducing the cost of hosting applications. "Pay per use" is mentioned by every cloud vendor, but that by itself is not a magic wand by which the bills get reduced. A typical pattern is to observe monthly bills, see which services ended up being costly, then look at re-architecting bits and pieces of the application. Google Cloud Platform, which is fast becoming a strong alternative to Amazon Web Services, wants to make the task easier by providing a billing API that provides programmatic access to your daily Google Cloud Platform usage and cost estimates.