Google’s API frenzy: Cloud, Analytics, Maps, and Calendar

It’s been a busy week for Google’s dev team, releasing a series of new API updates.

From new products to saving old favourites, appears I/O is still (unoffically) running. Yet we're still to get a glimpse at the next version of Android and the inevitable host of new API's with that release!

 

 

Cloud

As everyone’s most popular web service, Google is keeping up with the times through its cloud-based offerings. The ‘App Engine’ is your go-to suite for developing apps using Google’s infrastructure, which claims to be “easy to build, easy to scale, easy to maintain.”

The platform has long featured Cloud SQL, but absent of a method to manage the databases without using Google’s admin interface. This has now been rectified with the release of the – predictably named – Cloud SQL API.

As a REST API; simple GET, POST, DELETE requests will suffice for your Cloud SQL development requirements.

Google has been targeting developers to utilise its App Engine through release of a brand-new kit, the ‘Mobile Backend Starter’. Nice to have such simple naming, why do so many other companies have to overly complicate their branding?

The kit aims to contain everything required for quickly setting up a backend for an app, including a server which stores data using App Engine and a client library for Android that handles the communication between the app and the App Engine cloud.

All synced up nicely across devices via Google’s Cloud Messaging (GCM) if required.

 

Analytics

With the launch of Google’s new Content Experiments API arrives deeper integration with Google Analytics, allowing the platform to become a full A-B testing suite.

The API allows developers to select their own selection logic, and utilise the power of Analytics to form the basis of their decisions. Each experiment will automatically adjust and display to the user based on how well it performs using a multi-armed bandit approach to testing.

A clear advantage of Google’s platform is the ease of ability to test applications server-side, which will be a relief to many developers.

 

Maps

As part of their annual I/O developer conference, the Mountain View-based company unleashed a brand-new version of the popular ‘Maps’ service to wide acclaim.

This latest release builds upon the ‘Maps Engine’ which allows developers to create their own custom maps, and consequently, place their own data upon Google Maps.

Although launching last year, there was previously no API to access this custom data for applications, until now.

Primarily aimed at enterprise usage, businesses will be able to layer information over the map for employees. An example of real-life usage could be for a logistics company; overlaying delivery information to drop-off or collection points for drivers.

To clarify, the regular Maps API always provides access to Google’s own mapping information, but this latest API now allows developers to access and manipulate custom data submitted.

 

Calendar

Although this is not a new API, it’s worth keeping you updated with the current situation regarding Google and its support for CalDAV.

After the controversy caused by Google’s decision to shutdown the evidently popular RSS feed reader Google Reader, many developers and consumers wondered whether their voices are actually being heard by the company.

The decision forced many third party applications which relied on the product’s API, such as my favourite, ‘Press’ for Android, to seek alternatives (which they found in Feedly.)

In March, Google announced it was to shut off support (except for a few, “whitelisted” developers) for another popular API which supports web calendar standard, CalDAV.

However, the company says it received “many requests” for access to CalDAV causing the company to reverse their decision. If you (collectively) shout loud enough, you will be heard! Well, maybe.

This will come as great news for Windows Phone 8 users whose Exchange ActiveSync support from Google was cut off on July 31, causing Microsoft to announce support for CalDAV and CardDAV protocols in an upcoming update.

Will you be integrating any of Google’s latest APIs into your applications? Are you happy Google has decided to continue supporting CalDAV and are listening to developers?

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gsampathkumar
10 Jun 2013, 5:56 a.m.

Checkout SwarmIQ. Similar functionality.

Features: The ability to skim large #s of headlines, organize lots of feeds, label them, tag articles for later reading, fastm unobtrusive "no magazine layout".
Sign up at http://www.swarmiq.com/register/GOOGLEREADERISDEAD , click on the Google reader icon to get all your feeds, and get up and running straight away.

Disclosure: I'm on the team that built this site :-) Also, we don't have "Google Alerts" type functionality yet.

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