The Google Cloud Platform has a reputation for instability thanks to the short lifespan of many of its APIs, but Google hopes to fix this through a new set of tenets designed to restore trust in its development process.
Having relabelled its suite of products as ‘Google Enterprise APIs,’ the tech giant plans to be more transparent with and supportive of customers.
Google summarised its new philosophy in a recent blog post as such:
- “The burden is on us: Our working principle is that no feature may be removed (or changed in a way that is not backwards compatible) for as long as customers are actively using it. If a deprecation or breaking change is inevitable, then the burden is on us to make the migration as effortless as possible. The only exception to this rule is if there are critical security, legal, or intellectual property issues caused by the feature.”
- “Support the customer: Customers will receive a minimum of one year’s notice of an impending change, during which time the feature will continue to operate without issue. Customers will have access to tools, docs, and other materials to migrate to newer versions with equivalent functionality and performance. We will also work with customers to help them reduce their usage to as close to zero as possible.”
- “Ensure strong governance: To make sure we follow these tenets, any change we introduce to an API is reviewed by a centralized board of product and engineering leads and follows a rigorous product lifecycle evaluation.”
In closing, Google stated that it “takes the decision to wind down any product very seriously” and that it has been piloting these tenets for the past several months.
Will investors and consumers be satisfied with this response after Google’s performance this year? The answer is likely not. From delayed APIs such as the ‘Tiles’ platform for WearOS to the widespread scepticism surrounding Google Stadia, the company’s reputation has taken a number of blows.
Although communication can help relieve some of the hesitation users and companies are starting to feel when investing in a Google product, alone it is not enough. The company must stick to its public commitments so people can trust it will follow through.
This is especially important for the Google Cloud Platform considering how far behind from the cloud infrastructure frontrunners of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure it lies. A quarter one analysis by Canalys found Google to have only a 7% market share, compared to Microsoft’s 19% and Amazon’s 32%.
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