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InfoQ Homepage News Google Announces Enterprise API to Fix "Product-Killing" Reputation

Google Announces Enterprise API to Fix "Product-Killing" Reputation

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Last month Google announced the Google Enterprise APIs that will be governed by a stricter policy when they change or are deprecated. The company will apply the Enterprise API label to most APIs across Google Cloud, Google Workspace, and Google Maps Platform.

Google Cloud has a reputation for its instability due to the short lifespan of many of its APIs, which the company aims to fix with Enterprise APIs. Various sources online, such as the "Killed by Google" website, provided the company with feedback on early retirements of services without proper communication. 

Reliability and stability are the company's focus to assure the customers of the APIs that they will continue to work as expected. In a Google Cloud blog post by Kripa Krishnan, vice president, Google Cloud and Technical Infrastructure, and John Jester, vice president, customer experience, Google Cloud, they state:

  • Our working principle is that no feature may be removed (or changed in a way that is not backward compatible) for as long as customers are actively using it.
  • 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.
  • 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.

The announcement of Enterprise APIs also brings back a rumor from 2019 that Google potentially can lose funding by 2023 with the news of Enterprise APIs. Moreover, according to a recent Canalys report, AWS and Microsoft currently have a more significant market share in cloud infrastructure than Google. In a hacker news thread on that rumor of the potential shutdown of the financing for the Google Cloud Platform by 2023, a respondent stated:

The problem Google has with the developer community is largely around the fact that Google has a long history of pulling the rug out from our feet. There have been three stories on HN in the past couple of weeks alone about Google products which have either been dropped or changed significantly such that they are no longer viable for developers to use.

Google has lost a lot of trust in the community, and if Google management wants to avoid this kind of reaction, they need to build a reputation for stability. Years of dropping products people rely on have eroded much of the goodwill people used to have for Google.

Amazon doesn't drop products. Microsoft has spent decades building a reputation for having a long-term reliable product roadmap.

And in a more recent tweet by Fintan Ryan, analyst at Gartner:

Google Enterprise APIs @googlecloud << I haven't looked at this in-depth yet for the ins and outs, but on the surface it's a good (and long overdue) move. Perceptions matter.

Lastly, other public cloud providers such as AWS and Microsoft already have policies to notify customers when services or features will be deprecated. For example, AWS offers support for depreciating product versions in their AWS Service Catalog and has a deprecation category in their news blog. While Microsoft, for instance, provides a Service Health capability in the Azure portal, and announces retirements in advance through Azure updates and documentation. Furthermore, an unofficial Twitter account, Azure Deprecation (@AzureEndofLife), provides notifications when an Azure service is at the end of life.

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