About the Author
Opinion Archives
E-mail Scott
Scott's Links

Google Plus needs to open its API

By Scott Tibbs, September 9, 2012

I have been waiting for Google Plus to open up its API so that I can automatically feed my blog to my G+ profile. According to DigitalTrends.com I am going to keep waiting. Why? Because Google does not intend to open the API at all.

I understand Google's reasoning. They want G+ to be a place for original content, not necessarily stuff that is automatically posted from another site. The problem is that G+ (with 170 million users) lags quite a bit behind Facebook and its 800 million users. Opening up the API would allow G+ to have more content, which would encourage people to read it more.

When G+ first launched, there was some excitement about it. One of my friends on both Facebook and G+ commented many times that the content on G+ was much better. The "circles" makes G+ a combination of Facebook and Twitter, and I wondered if G+ would seriously challenge Facebook. It looks like that is not going to happen.

In my opinion, the lack of an open API is something that is holding G+ back. I personally find it useful to be able to schedule posts on Facebook for a future time, and it is convenient to have my fan page automatically update with new blog posts without needing to touch it. The fact that I can auto-post doesn't impact the time I spend on Facebook, it just removes busywork. Take away the busywork, and I will probably spend more time looking at my news feed.

Here is what boggles my mind. Google owns Blogger, and there has been some integration between Blogger and Google Plus. My Blogspot profile automatically goes to Google Plus, for example. So while I understand why Google would not want to open up G+ to content from around the Internet, why would Google not have Blogspot posts automatically update a G+ profile? You have the option of manually sharing to G+ when you post a blog, but that only exists if you publish immediately. There is no option to automatically share if you schedule your posts - and virtually all of my blog posts are scheduled for the future.

What Google should heed is the lessons of MySpace, which was the undisputed king of social networking in 2006. Facebook was only available to a limited audience, before eventually opening up to everyone and challenging MySpace. But while Facebook started implementing more features - tagging friends in pictures, the news feed (which was very controversial at the time) and other things to allow people to do more, MySpace stood still. It became clear that Facebook was the superior software, and eventually the users followed. If Google wants to make G+ a legitimate competitor to Facebook, they need to offer their users more ways to provide content.