One of Facebook’s best moves was opening up to developers.
With the Facebook Platform, the company moved beyond a social networking Web site and started to become a social platform for the entire Web and for other applications.
Every time you log into Facebook to use another Web site or application, or every time you “Like” a Web page, you’re helping Facebook extend its influence a little farther — and gather a little more information about you that it can use to sell advertisements.
Today, Google took its first step in the same direction by releasing the first Google+ API.
APIs — application programming interfaces — are the hooks that programmers use to let their applications tap into other software. For instance, Windows APIs let applications (like Office) call the hardware functions (like printing) that Windows enables. Facebook APIs are how Web sites and applications can let you sign in using your Facebook ID and pull information like your friends list.
Developers have been wondering about Google+ APIs ever since the service launched without them. Earlier this week, word leaked that Google was making some APIs available to trusted partners. (The word was spread in an email from Google Ventures — Google’s venture capital arm — to its portfolio companies.)
But this is the first one open to the entire world of developers.
The first Google+ API is pretty limited — it only allows applications to access information that you’ve shared with the entire Public via Google+. The stuff you’ve limited to particular circles or individual friends is off limits.
But Google admits it’s just a first step. Look for Google to imitate every single aspect of the Facebook Platform, and improve upon it wherever it can.
(Image credit: SkullX2000.)
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