Until now, access to the third party management tools for Google+ Pages has been restricted to just six partners. Now Google is inviting "hundreds" of others into this circle.
A Google+ post from Google's Eduardo Thuler, and picked up by TNW.com, explains how Google is extending access to its social media APIs.
Many brands use third party tools to manage their social media presence across the web. So in recent months we've been been previewing a new set of Google+ management APIs with some of these companies (including Buddy Media, Context Optional, Hearsay Social, HootSuite, Involver, and Vitrue).
We're getting a lot of positive feedback from these developers, the businesses they work with, and the Google+ community at large. So over the next several weeks we'll be opening up these management APIs to hundreds more tool providers.
Developers are then invited to fill in a form to "get a heads up when we have more details to share".
Instead of being good news, this announcement will come as a real blow to many who are keen to do more with their Google+ Pages.
When they first introduced last November we already felt disappointed:
Of course it would be nice if Google had delivered a full API that allowed us to do things like automate parts of the construction of the page - but we can't have everything.
It looks as though we still won't have the facilities to make Google+ really useful - although we will fill in the form and see.
How long does Google expect developers to wait for a full API?
It is represented as a slow and cautious approach to introducing an API because of the need to protect users from malicious applications and the spam that they could generate. The argument is that, by going very slowly, Google can try to avoid the mistakes that other social networks have made.
However, security is often a cover for other motivations. It is arguable that the mistake that has been made in the past is to introduce an API to enable the network to grow without taking account of how to monetize the operation. This has resulted in both Facebook and Twitter having to place controls on what apps can be used and limits on the API - not for security reasons but for profit.
This is annoying developers who have invested in creating apps that added missing functionality and who see the changes as just proof that now they are no longer needed. If Google can produce an API with a set of rules that govern how it can be used now and in the future, then perhaps developers will be happier.