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Google feels the pain of users who can't get on Google+

Google is working hard to get the site ready for application developers, enterprise users, minors and corporate marketers

By Juan Carlos Perez
August 23, 2011 07:17 PM ET

IDG News Service - Google is keenly aware that many people are eager to set up profiles in Google+, the company's new social network, but the site will remain in a limited trial while the company works feverishly toward a broader rollout that can accommodate a larger number and wider variety of users.

So said Bradley Horowitz, the Google+ vice president of product, during a webcast interview on Tuesday with Tim O'Reilly, CEO of O'Reilly Media.

In addition to regular people, there are a number of specialty user groups that are anxious to try out Google+, like application developers, Google Apps customers, corporate marketers and even minors, but the site isn't yet ready for them, he said.

For developers, Google doesn't yet offer any way to build applications for the site, and the plan is to at some point, gradually and deliberately, release APIs (application programming interfaces) for them, starting with basic, read-only ones, he said.

The rollout of APIs and developer tools will be done "with a deep concern for the user experience to make sure errant apps, whether willfully or accidentally breaking the system, are monitored and don't spoil the experience for everyone," Horowitz said.

Google wants to avoid at all costs applications that, for example, spam users. The company also wants to make sure that the development tools are designed in such a way that allow programmers to do their best work.

"In a platform that's social by nature you have to do this in a disciplined way," he said.

Interestingly, Horowitz spoke about Google's OpenSocial development tools in the past tense, saying that the project wasn't as successful as it could have been because it came at a time when the company lacked a compelling, "exemplary" social networking site.

OpenSocial is -- or was -- a set of common APIs for building social networking applications that Google designed so that developers wouldn't have to write the same application from scratch multiple times for different sites.

Launched in 2007, the OpenSocial APIs were used by a number of social networking sites, including MySpace, but Facebook didn't adopt them, opting to stick with the ones it had by then developed for its massively successful application platform.

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the status of OpenSocial, but based on Horowitz's comments it seems fair to guess that Google is developing a different API toolset for Google+.

Horowitz said that Google has no immediate plans to release as open source any of the proprietary code it has been developing for Google+, but that it has developed the site for data portability and compliance with open standards.

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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