All eyes should be on Google’s Annual Developer Conference, Google I/O next week. As the first Google I/O with the Google+ Team, and a serious read/write API yet to launch, I predict we are about to see an explosion of social apps at a level we haven’t seen since Facebook’s F8 Conference in 2007 when they launched their platform to the world. The parallels are very similar.
Let’s look first at the original APIs for both. Some may not be aware of this, but previous to Facebook’s 2007 F8 conference, they too had an API very similar to the state of Google+’s API today. Called “Facebook Developers”, the original API in 2006 was limited to a small number of requests per day, very similar to Google+’s current platform. It was mostly a read-only API, with, eventually, the ability to create widgets that could be embedded as apps on a person’s Wall – a new feature of Facebook at the time. You could also access very limited data about a person’s friend graph and wall posts. It wasn’t until F8 of 2007 that Facebook really opened the floodgates for this, increasing API requests, opening up the ability for “Canvas apps”, and giving full access to integrate apps into multiple “integration points” within Facebook itself. In fact, it wasn’t until years after that that developers could really start integrating this data into other websites and mobile apps. Just like Google+, Facebook took baby steps to launch their API, but when they were ready, they launched big.
Google+ is in a very similar state today. Their platform is limited in the number of requests you can make per minute, and per day. They only allow a few select enterprise partners write access to the news feed. They’ve opened up a few elements, such as games, to a few partners to integrate right on Google+, but in very limited form. They’re in a very similar state to Facebook in 2007. When Facebook launched though, developers came in droves, seeing user growth in the millions in a matter of days. Facebook itself grew significantly during this time.
While I’m sure Google has had the opportunity to learn from Facebook’s mistakes (Facebook has had to change their platform quite a bit since they originally launched), I anticipate we could see a similar flood when Google+ finally launches their full platform to the world. Will we see a Canvas Page-like approach? I’d guess we will – OpenSocial supports this and much of Google+’s current platform bases on OpenSocial standards.
I anticipate a number of integration points, a raised request limit, and as a result an increase in apps, and developers coming to the Google+ platform. There’s one advantage Google+ has over Facebook though: Google+ has Google. Remember always that Google+ is just a social layer over all Google products. That means even their platform will likely some day extend across all of their products. This is exciting, and what will bring similar success to developers in the same way Facebook did back in 2007.
Next week is a very exciting week for Google+ and Google as a company! I’ll be there every day of the conference, and I can’t wait to see what gets announced. To me this is one of the most exciting conferences in the history of Google, and it will be fun to have a front seat to this moment in history. Keep watching my stream on Google+, and on StayNAlive.com to keep updated of the event!
(Disclosure: FamilyLink is a former client of mine)
Originally posted on Google+!