Google’s senior vice president of engineering, Vic Gundotra, couldn’t resist jumping into the whole Facebook developer/ Dalton Caldwell brouhaha with a not-so-subtle dig at Facebook.
On his Google+ account last night, Gundotra used the Facebook controversy to once again explain why Google+ was better for developers, even though it still hasn’t given them what they really want: full access to build apps on top of Google’s social media site.
The backstory is this: Valley developer Dalton Caldwell wrote an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg. The letter says that when Caldwell met with Facebook executives they told him that his startup was competitive with a Facebook product, and that he should either sell it to Facebook or face destruction. (Caldwell is now trying to raise money to build a social service that competes with Facebook.)
Gundotra posted a link to the open letter and used the controversy to tell developers that Google is the company that really loves and respects developers. “It’s novel. I know,” he said.
Here’s Gundotra’s full Google+ post.
I get a lot of heat for not releasing a full write API for Google+. At SXSW I was even booed by developers in the audience when I said we were not ready to open an API.
I’ve repeatedly stated the reason – I’m not interested in screwing over developers. When we open an API, we want developers to feel confident that the innovations they build are going to be long lasting. Releasing an API, and then later changing the rules of the game isn’t fun for anyone, especially developers who’ve spent their life’s energies building on the platform.
So I’m sorry that we haven’t released a wide open write API for those of you who want one. We’re being careful because we want to be different. You know, actually respectful of developers who build on our platform. It’s novel. I know.
Google+ does offer developers some hooks into the platform, but they can’t yet do what they really want — post directly into users’ Google+ streams the way they can with Facebook and Twitter.
Scuttlebutt says that Google is not releasing the API because it can’t figure out the privacy implications — how to give developers the access they want and still protect Google+ users.
Gundotra is known as a master of developer relations. He championed the Android operating system to developers. When he took over Google+, people expected it to be very developer-friendly, but as of yet, they are still waiting for those promised APIs.