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Google Opens Half-Way House for Code
Outside developers are supposed to be available for brain-picking

Google has opened up a site called Google Code Labs, not to be mistaken for Google Code or Google Labs, where developers can now go to get involved with potential products in their early days, familiarize themselves with APIs still being formulated and presumably build off them while Google's own engineers "explore ideas" and figure out if the stuff's a keeper or not without embarrassing the company with a public beta.



Outside developers are supposed to be available for brain-picking.

In a blog, Tom Stocky, the director of Google Developer Products, explained that "Our hope, of course, is that all of our developer products grow up to be huge successes, but we realize that not every single one will reach that goal."

Stocky also announced the first set of 27 so-called Google Code Labs "graduates" including App Engine, Google Web Toolkit, AJAX Search API, Maps API, Earth API, Calendar Data API and YouTube APIs, widgetry to which Google is committed.

"For these graduates, we're increasing our commitment with published deprecation policies and other critical support services. The Visualization API terms, Contacts Data API terms and Picasa Web Albums Data API terms include good examples of transparent deprecation policies. They state that we'll support each version for at least three years from when it's deprecated or a newer version is introduced. We're working to get policies posted for the other graduates as well, though the time period may vary a bit from product to product. It will be three years for most, but it might be less for some. The AdWords API, for example, has a policy of supporting old versions for four months.

"Of course, even established products need a way to experiment with new features. With that in mind, some products will have features labeled ‘experimental' that could change (or even be removed) at any time, while the rest of the API is covered by a deprecation policy with long-term support. [Think Gears, Feedburner, Finance Data and Social Graph.]

"There are additional hurdles for an API to graduate from Labs. They include requirements like having a dedicated, ongoing engineering team and comprehensive test suite. We also want to do things like the App Engine System Status Dashboard for more products."

He also said that Google was retiring its SOAP Search API on August 31, figuring that AJAX Search API is now more productive.

See http:// code.google.com/labs

About Maureen O'Gara
Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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