Google is continuing its “spring cleaning” led by Larry Page, this time on the developer front with new, simplified API deprecation policies. In an announcement on Google’s Developer Blog, APIs Product Manager Adam Feldman made it clear that Google’s commitment to APIs hasn’t changed, but that it has decided to adopt a one-year deprecation policy for some APIs, while removing the policy for other APIs.
Bottom line is this should help keep Google’s API team nimble, since supporting old versions won’t be such an issue. More specifically, Google App Engine, Google Cloud Storage, Google Maps/Earth APIs and the YouTube API are being moved to a one year policy. These APIs will wind down their current 3-year deprecation policy and will transition to the one-year policy in April 2014.
As for the list of deprecation policies that will be removed (note: not the API, but the policy), the following will take effect after April 2015: Accounts API, AdSense Host API, Chart Tools API, Checkout API, Contacts API, Custom Search API, Documents API, Doubleclick for Publishers API, Feed API, Google Apps Admin APIs,Libraries API, Orkut API, Picasa Web Albums API, and Prediction API.
On with the real cleaning, the APIs that are being completed retired include the Moderator API and Legacy Portable Contacts API, as well as part of the Account Authentication APIs (ClientLogin, AuthSub and OAuth 1.0) and Google Chart Tools (Image Charts and Infographics). Google is also deprecating the non-current versions of the Spreadsheets, Contacts,Documents List and Freebase APIs and is adding a shutdown date for the Finance API and Feedburner Administrative APIs, which were deprecated last year.
Google, on its commitment to developers:
Our change in policy is designed to make it easier for us to bring you the technology you’ve come to expect from Google: technology that excels at ease-of-use and scalability, and enables you to focus on building your unique application. Our team remains committed to existing APIs as well as building powerful new Google technology into our developer platform.
Overall, this continued push towards efficiency should only help Google lighten its load. The only negative result of this change is that developers will now have to be much more timely in maintaining compatibility with new releases. Luckily, Google is providing a warning a few years in advance, so there shouldn’t be too much of an issue on that front.