If you haven’t yet heard, last week Google created quite a stir in the developer community when they announced that they would deprecate / discontinue 18 of it’s API’s including the popular Translate API. One of the sited reasons for the deprecation was “Extensive Abuse” of it’s Translate API, but something tells me there’s more to this story, one that involves simply cutting their losses on a couple lesser-used and often-abused API’s.
In almost instantaneous fashion, Developers all over the web sounded of in a very polarizing fashion. Blog posts and comments such as “Why Should anyone ever use a Google API again” and “you are supposed to be the smartest guys one the planet and the only solution you can come up is to shut it down? ” seem to dominate the landscape, but there’s a growing sediment that happens to agree with goggle and be ok with this. I am one of these people.
First, this is Google’s call. In their Terms of Service it says that this exact thing can happen at anytime and here’s how we’re going to handle it. Second, of the 18 API’s that are being deprecated only a handful of them are being terminated, meaning completely shut off. Here’s the kicker, they’ve done this before and I’m very sure they will do it again in the future. It’s just this time they included a popular API that they didn’t want to throw resources at any more.
If your business rely’s on one of the API’s then you certainly have time to come up with an alternate, if your business is built on one of theses services then you need a new business model that doesn’t rely on something that can go away at a moments notice.
While some of the complaints are valid and there is certainly a high level of frustration with the situation for developers who’s projects have integrated with one of these API’, you’ve got to realize that the ‘cloud’ is what it is…a collection of vapor. That vapor can dissipate at any moment.. Unless you pay for, or have some type of contract for a ‘cloud’ based service, that service can go away result at any moment and developers need to be very cognizant of that fact.
Will I ever use a (free) Google API? You bet. Will I it be a focal point to remember that what I’m designing could go away? I promise.