What the New Google+ History API Does
Google have released a new API (a platform that allows websites to communicate with aspects of another website) which will allow users to bank content to be shared later via a third party website.
If you use Facebook you’ll instantly understand the concept as it’s almost identical to Facebook’s own Open Graph, which they released last year. Open Graph is a Facebook API which allows websites to share content automatically to a user’s timeline.
The Google+ History API however has one major difference, and that is that content can’t be automatically shared, but waits on a section of Google+ where the user can manually share it; much like images are when automatically uploaded from mobile phones.
Having worked with the Open Graph API I can see that it’s far more extensive and customizable than Google+’s version. For example, developers can specify the type of action, whether it’s ‘cooking’, ‘eating’, ‘listening to’. Google+ though has a set of actions – buying, commenting, checking into a location, listening, reserving (at a restaurant), reviewing, viewing online content like videos, and creating content online, like a blog post. Google states in their documentation that these are all the events that developers should need, but gives them the option to submit one if they think one is missing.
The documentation doesn’t specify how this content will be displayed on the user’s stream, but I expect the posts will have their particular design. We already have them for checking in and reviewing.
Google could not have copied a better feature from Facebook. The Open Graph makes sharing content not only faster, but more interesting and enjoyable. It is disappointing that developers don’t have the freedom to share content directly though, but I can see the logic behind their thinking and the privacy backlash they avoided.
I’m looking forward to see what developers come up with. You’ll definitely be seeing it on Techmog in the near future!