Developers rejoice! Google has now released the API for Google+!! For the uninitiated, in the simplest term possible, “Google+ is the answer of Google to Facebook.” For years now, developers have developed applications, tools and everything you can think of that utilizes the APIs of the top social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. And upon the entry of Google+, developers are craving to incorporate the power and innovation of this new service from Google into their applications. Probably the most requested feature that users, especially marketers, are craving for is to automatically post to Google+ via an API to instantly update their stream without logging in to the site. It has been long implemented on Facebook, and countless number of users are utilizing it, usually, to manage all of their updates to multiple social networks in one place.
As of now, the API focuses on public data only, meaning, the API can only access the posts made publicly available by the user. To get started, you must first turn the API on via your Google API Console located at https://code.google.com/apis/console/. You may notice that you have a limit of 1,000 queries per day. I think the courtesy limit gives too little courtesy to the developers. I think it can be increased by enabling billing and pay for the excess queries that you fetch every day. It would be bad for large-scale applications that are developed by small-time individuals, simply because it won’t scale unless you pay for it. Imagine paying for an API access, especially when Facebook, the top social network lets you use their API with more than 100x the limit given by Google. Let us see what will happen in the following months.
To get an overview of what the Google+ API can offer, I used Google’s APIs Explorer and noticed that as of now, there are only three methods available:
Get an activity.
List all of the activities in the specified collection for a particular user.
Get a person’s profile.
Using the APIs Explorer, testing the queries is such a breeze. First, we must enable Private Access since the request needs to be authorized via OAuth. I tried out the activities.list method by selecting the method and filling up the userId with “me” and collection with “public”. Take note that “public” is the only value permitted in the collection field as of now, since the API can only access public data for the mean time. It also seem that JSON is the only output format that the API supports. The fields editor is very handy, since you can simply select the fields that you want returned. After clicking the Execute button, the APIs Explorer instantly returned the response to my request as seen from the picture above.
At this stage, only “reading” the data from Google+ is possible with the API. “Writing” data however is still missing in action. So far, only apps that fetch data from Google+ will benefit from this initial release of the API, we still need to wait before third-party apps can post to your stream and before we can see an app named Facebook to Google+.
Update: It seems that billing is not yet enabled for the Google+ API, though you can request to raise the courtesy limit, it still depends on Google whether they’ll approve of the request.