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Google: “We’ll Open 3rd-party Google+ API….we’re not going to revoke access”; Promises Unified Social and Mobile Game Platform

At the SXSW, Google’s head of Google Plus, Vic Gundotra, said that he won’t let third-party apps post to Google+ because “Your stream could easily be overwhelmed.” The problem with allowing third-party apps to contribute content is that “if ranking is not good in the stream”, single apps could publish too many posts and push out authentic content from the people you follow, said Gundotra.

Additionally, Gundotra criticized Facebook’s inclusion of ads on photo albums and said that only a “very small number of people have turned off social search”.

Gundotra didn’t guarantee when the third-party API would be made available, “I just don’t want to do it because I’ve seen other [platforms] open APIs, develop an ecosystem of third-party clients, and then shut down the API. He said that “When Google opens an API, we want you to know we’re not going to revoke access.”

In this case, Facebook has had years to refine its EdgeRank algorithm for sorting the news feed and minimizing the impact of noisy friends and apps. Without such data on who and what its users are interested in, Google+ doesn’t know what to promote and hide.

Gundotra quoted as saying, “We get these messages that we’re a ghost town” but developers are still eager for access. Well guess what? If users could cross-publish posts to Google+ the way, apps like “Path: allow syndication to Facebook and Twitter, maybe the network wouldn’t feel so dead.

In other, Google news, still largely missing from the recent launch of “Google Play” rebranding is a truly unified gaming platform, as Google continues to have 3 separate gaming platforms in use. At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on March 6, Google Product Manager Punit Soni sadi that Google will soon remedy this with a Google Games platform to be unveiled prior to the end of the year.

“By next year, we will not be here talking about Google+ Games, Chrome Web Store games, Games for Native Client and Android games, we will be talking about Google games.”

The Google Games platform is supposed to be launched later this year.

“Soni also indicated that they were planning on making Google Games truly social, offering Hangouts for video communication, mobile games, and better distribution and discoverability for games,” informs VentureBeat.

Google provides a cross-platform library “PlayN” for writing games and creating Java desktop apps, HTML5 web apps and mobile apps for Android and iOS.

Google+ is already huge with more than 100 million monthly active users and 50 million daily active users. Those users spend over one hour a day on Google, and that activity has lifted the performance of search ads by 5 to 10 percent, Soni said.

Also, according to a Reuters article, Google is calling Android Developers to stop using third-party payment services such as PayPal, Zong, and Boku, and if they don’t — they would get barred from “Google Play” (formerly, called Android Market).”

google play in-app billing

To this, Google says that nothing has changed in its policy and that the story is a non-starter.

That’s not entirely accurate; a few things have changed: Google rebranded its in-app billing service when it changed the name of the Android Market to Google Play earlier this week. It’s now called “Google Play In-app Billing.” And the company is making a concerted effort to drive more business through that app store.

One small problem, though: Google says that nothing has changed in its policy and that the story is a non-starter. Reuters’ suggests that “Google is using its powerful position in the mobile apps market to promote an in-house offering,” and cites an incident from August 2011, when a developer was sent a note from Google ordering it to switch to Google’s own payment services, or else get rejected from the Android Market (now Google Play).

With the launch of Google Play, Google also rebranded its In-app Billing service, now called as “Google Play In-app Billing.” The rub is that Google’s service takes a 30 percent cut to Google on all transactions — same as Apple’s in-app payment service — but that some third-party payment services take less.

A Google spokesperson, tells that in fact Google has had the same policies in place for in-app payments — requiring developers to use Google’s own service — since they were launched. The exceptions, he notes, “if it’s a good that isn’t consumed within the app store — for example, a new clock from Amazon — then Google doesn’t require developers to implement in-app billing to pay for it. But when it comes to content for the app itself, that’s when Google’s own billing kicks in,” explained Google.

“If [a developer] had been in breach of that, and we had only just noticed, that’s when we would send out a letter,” he said, explaining the letter that was sent out to a developer in August.

But while Google mayn’t be changing its policies on how in-app payments are supposed to be used by Android developers, one area that does seem to be evolving is Google’s focus on making this into a more-used feature.

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