Application programming interface Stories August 26, 2015

Google’s Container Engine for managing software containers now available

Google’s Container Engine, the system through which developers can easily create and manage clusters of software containers, is now generally available. Software containers are isolated environments where individual applications can run separate from any other applications, allowing for more granular resource management and increased security, among other things. A web application might have separate containers for the webserver, cache, and database, for example.

“While containers make packaging apps easier, a powerful cluster manager and orchestration system is necessary to bring your workloads to production,” Google said in its blog post about the announcement. “Container Engine makes it easy for you to set up a container cluster and manage your application, without sacrificing infrastructure flexibility.”

There are two open-source technologies underlying Container Engine’s ease of use and flexibility: Docker for automating the deployment of applications inside software containers, and the Google-built Kubernetes for making these siloed applications work together in unison even when hosted across multiple cloud hosts. Companies can move all their infrastructure needs to Container Engine or just move some and find cost savings if, for example, Google’s solution is cheaper. Whatever the need, another reason you might move some processes over to Container Engine is that it’s fully managed by Google reliability engineers, and comes with a 99.5% uptime guarantee.

Beyond management of clusters, Container Engine also equips them with logging and container health checking tools, and makes it incredibly easy to scale CPU and memory up or down as an applications’ needs change. Define your containers’ needs, such as the amount of CPU/memory each requires, number of replicas, and keepalive policy, and Container Engine will actively ensure requirements are met. This goes back to the mention of granular resource management: siloing applications with Kubernetes into separate, virtual environments allows one to easily limit the resources any one environment gets access to, preventing an app gone haywire from hogging too much of the total available memory, for example.

Google has been able to draw from real-world experience in building Container Engine, as the company says that it packages all of its own web applications — like Gmail and Search — into containers, deploying more than 2 billion instances of them each week.

Application programming interface Stories August 17, 2015

Right on the heels of Google unveiling the official name for Android M — it’s Marshmallow — the company has released the final preview version of the operating system bump along with the Android 6.0 SDK and access to all the new APIs that Marshmallow includes…

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Application programming interface Stories August 5, 2015

Google opens up data on site search performance with new Analytics developer API

Have you ever wondered what the most commonly searched terms which lead to your site appearing in Google’s results are? Or maybe the top queries on mobile that lead to your site appearing in results? Well, Google has offered a Search Analytics Report in the Google Search Console for some time which provides this exact kind of data (where have you been?), and now it has created an API developers can use to play around with this data in their own apps.

It’s called the Search Analytics API and with it, developers get access to all the data on traffic that has come to them through search, and can sort it by parameters like country to gain insights into, for example, what are the top queries in India that lead to visitors.

The potential here is for developers to create graphical user interfaces to this data, so less tech savvy individuals would gain the ability to sift through their search data without needing prior knowledge on how to use an API.

Application programming interface Stories August 20, 2014

Uber API The popular transportation service Uber has quickly been growing this year with new features like adding your destination right on the smartphone app when requesting a ride and poaching long time Apple engineering manager Chris Blumenberg who managed the Maps team. The service is even integrated into the Google Maps app on iPhone and Android, and check out the Uber care package the company sends new employees.

Today Uber is taking a major step toward integrating its service into even more apps and services as it introduces an API for developers to use in their own apps and a list of partners already planning to take advantage of it.

As of today, we officially open—to all developers—access to many of the primitives that power Uber’s magical experience. Apps can pass a destination address to the Uber app, display pickup times, provide fare estimates, access trip history and more.

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Application programming interface Stories May 9, 2014

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A seemingly drastic turn of events in the appeals court has reversed the ruling on some elements of the Google-Oracle trial.

The ruling enables Oracle to claim copyright ownership over some parts of Java. The crux of the trial was whether API names and constructs could be owned. The initial decision said that it couldn’t, giving Google a landslide victory. However, the appeal court papers now say the exact opposite:

For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organiza- tion of the 37 Java API packages are entitled to copyright protection. Because there is an insufficient record as to the relevant fair use factors, we remand for further proceedings on Google’s fair use defense.

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Application programming interface Stories January 17, 2014

Storage space on your Android phone just got less problematic, thanks to Google Drive API

If you’re finding that app data is using up more and more of the storage capacity on your Android phone, Google has just rolled out something that is likely to help: an API that allows developers to store app data on Google Drive instead of in your phone’s flash memory.

It will also mean that data created by apps using the API will be automatically synced between device. 

The change will be completely invisible to users – it will Just Work. When an Internet connection isn’t available, data will be cached locally until it can again reach Google Drive. There will be some impact on data usage, but for most apps this is likely to be trivial.

Application programming interface Stories November 26, 2013

developers

Engadget reports that some developers who had registered their interest in the Glass Explorers program are now receiving emailed invitations from Google.

Although third-party developers have been able to develop Glass apps using a cloud-based API, this approached imposed limitations on what those apps could do. Google recently removed these limitations by offering developers an SDK, or in this case a GDK (Glass Development Kit), previewed here …  expand full story

Application programming interface Stories August 27, 2013

Amazon launches new API to let Android devs sell Amazon.com products as in-app purchases

Amazon announced today that it’s introducing a new “Mobile Associates API” for Android and Kindle Fire devices allowing developers to offer Amazon.com goods as in-app purchases and earn a percentage of sales in the process. Developers will earn up to 6% off purchases made through their apps and all sales will go through Amazon’s secure 1-Click purchasing and Amazon Prime shipping.

Amazon described a few of the possibilities for developers:

Until today, if developers wanted to create additional revenue channels for their apps they could use a “freemium” model with digital in-app purchasing or subscriptions, or by using mobile ads… App and game developers as well as existing Amazon Associates can create new and compelling user experiences within apps and games in three ways: selling a single item from within an app or game, showcasing a category of goods, or bundling the purchase of physical goods with the purchase of digital goods (for example, the customer receives a digital version of a board game when they buy the physical one). Animoca, Fismos, Days of Wonder and Spring2Partners are already integrating these experiences within their popular apps and games.

You can learn more about the new API on the Amazon developers blog.

Application programming interface Stories August 21, 2013

Chrome for Android update w/ WebRTC, WebAudio, & improved scrolling now available

We noted yesterday that the release of Chrome 29 on Windows, Mac, and Linux would be followed by an update to the Chrome app for Android that brings support for the WebRTC standard and scrolling improvements. Google has just released the update on Google Play and also noted that it includes support for the WebAudio API allowing developers to “process and synthesize audio” in web apps. WebRTC support, as we’ve noted previously, is typically used by developers to implement voice calling, video chatting, and peer-to-peer file sharing in their web apps without the ned of a plugin. Google also says the update includes enhancements to “scrolling responsiveness and visual indication when reaching the end of a page.”

The updated Chrome for Android app also brings a new UI for the color picker in web forms and improved startup performance.

Application programming interface Stories April 2, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 9.53.40 AM

Twilio, a voice and messaging API solution, announced a partnership with Google’s Cloud Platform today.

Twilio is the first of its kind to integrate with Google App Engine and give developers voice and messaging services for their apps with just a few lines of code, and its APIs are priced on a pay-per-use scale, as first noted by TechCrunch. Voice services like making calls, for instance, start at 2 cents per minute, and the ability to receive calls costs just $1 per phone number and 1 cent per minute.

“We’re very excited to partner with Google to be the first voice and messaging platform integrated with Google Cloud Platform,” explained Twilio on its blog, while also listing step-by-step instructions on how to register with Google App Engine, build a messaging app, etc.

Twilio’s SDK notably includes one-to-one voice and messaging, SIP support, in-app conference calling, group texting, two-factor authentication, phone numbers, and mobile app distribution. Hipmunk, for instance, uses Twilio’s distribution feature to supply users with a text message and link to download its app.

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Application programming interface Stories January 1, 2013

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As 2013 kicks off, Babak Parviz, head of the Google Glass project that launched in spring of last year, sat down in an interview with IEEE Spectrum to give word on what to expect next.

We saw several prototype versions of Google Glass, as it readies shipping to the mainstream, and today, Parviz gave some insight into what has changed. “We constantly try out new ideas of how this platform can be used. There’s a lot of experimentation going on at all times in Google,” said Parviz. “We’re also trying to make the platform more robust. This includes making the hardware more robust and the software more robust, so we can ship it to developers early this year.” The early 2013 shipping time was announced at Google I/O 2012. It is nice to see Google is still on-track; however, new features for the platform have not been revealed. “The feature set for the device is not set yet. It is still in flux,” Parviz said.

Parviz also covered how Google will make a business out of Google Glass, and, maybe as a surprise to many, the Mountain View company currently doesn’t have plans to include advertising—its bread and butter. The business model is still being worked on: “This is still being worked on, but we are quite interested in providing the hardware…At the moment, there are no plans for advertising on this device.”

Other revelations in the interview include a cloud-based API so developers can integrate their Android apps into Google Glass. An example given was email and calendar services. Lastly, Parviz said the Glass team has worked hard on battery life and making sure the device is safe on the eyes. You can read the full interview for more. [IEEE Spectrum] expand full story

Application programming interface Stories October 15, 2012

Or just go incognito mode.

 

Google is sponsoring an upcoming hackathon by Hattery Labs that is awarding two grand prizes to innovators using Google Maps API.

The “Reroute/sf” hackathon runs from Oct. 19 to Oct. 21 at The Hattery, according to its Facebook page, and it aims to “improve transportation in San Francisco with technological innovation, and work with the City to make it real.” The three-day event essentially invites engineers, designers, and entrepreneurs to “make San Francisco a better place.”

The hackathon will host three challenges, i.e., “Collect the right data,” “Plan a trip anywhere – on-time,” “See what’s broken and watch it get fixed,” while senior representatives from the City of San Francisco and the technology community will determine who wins the following four prizes:

  • Best Innovation using Google Maps API | $7,500 Grant
  • Runner-up Innovation using Google Maps API | $2,500 Grant
  • Best Public Transit Innovation | $500 Clipper Card credit
  • Best Collaboration | 3 free General Assembly classes per team member

Aside from Google, the Hattery, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Waze, Google Maps, and the General Assembly sponsor the hackathon. The Hattery is a collection of experts ranging from designers and engineers to investors and brand marketers, and some of their most notable collaborative work under Hattery Labs includes giving people clean water and helping Haitians rebuild schools through WellDone and Haiti School Project, respectively.

Registration details below.

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Application programming interface Stories October 5, 2012

According to the Mannheim Regional Court in Germany, Motorola Mobility does not infringe on a Microsoft patent enabling a “method and radio interface layer comprising a set of application programming interfaces (APIs).” The patent, which Reuters described as allowing “applications to work on different handsets,” is considered a rare victory for Google’s Motorola. Throughout its countersuits, Microsoft has been able to win three patent cases against Motorola in Germany. As noted by Microsoft-funded blogger Florian Mueller, “Microsoft should actually thank Motorola for this initiative, which at this stage has been far more productive for Microsoft than for Google.”

Microsoft is expected to appeal the decision, as usual, but the Judge Voss did not go over the reasoning behind the ruling during the announcement. Microsoft’s associate general counsel David Howard provided a statement to Reuters:

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Application programming interface Stories August 16, 2012

Google rolled out its Google Wallet web app at the beginning of the month and introduced support for all major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, America Express, and Discover, at the same time. Today, the company announced on the Google Commerce blog that Discover Card is the first to implement the new “Save to Wallet” API for credit and debit card issuers.

Discover securely transmits all required information directly to Google Wallet. You can then select your Discover Card to be the primary method the Google Wallet app will use for in-store purchases, or when shopping online from Google Play or other merchants that accept Google Wallet. You’ll continue to earn rewards on every purchase you make. Discover has also provided Google Wallet with card imagery for the Discover More® Card, so you can easily identify your virtual Discover card in your mobile wallet.

Google demoed the new API during its full Wallet session at Google I/O in June. The feature allows card issuers and eventually other partners to provide a “Save to Wallet” or “Add Your Card” option in their website or application to securely transfer card and account information to Google Wallet. Google said the API would eventually extend to saving Offers in addition to payment cards.

To save a Discover Card to Google Wallet, follow the instructions below:

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Application programming interface Stories August 7, 2012

You may have already noticed, but Google’s latest Olympic-related doodle on the homepage is an interactive HTML5 game that celebrates hurdle races. Users can notably pair a USB-powered gamepad, keyboard, or mouse to control the game’s runner and to help him conquer the track’s hurdles.

Google revealed in a Google+ post today (screenshot below) that the doodle “makes use of the brand-new Gamepad API, which uses JavaScript to read the state of any gamepad controller attached to your computer, and which was just added to Chrome last week.”

Check it out: Google.com

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Application programming interface Stories August 2, 2012

Oh, Web drama.

Third-party developers often cry about the lack of an open write API from Google+. The absence notably means no tools, products, or services can add data to Google’s social network. Well, a few companies, such as Hootsuite, currently have permission to publish, but many more can only read.

With that said, entrepreneur Dalton Caldwell wants to launch ad-less social platform App.net to replace all the bogged-down, ad-supported social networks of the Internet. He even posted an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg yesterday about Facebook’s “bad-faith negotiations” with App.net and “the very real risk of 3rd party development on an ad-supported platform.”

Google Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra noticed Caldwell’s contentious blog post late last night, so he promptly explained in a status update why a public, read-and-write Google+ API is missing in action. His answer is simple: “I’m not interested in screwing over developers.”

Yeah…and this is his full status update:

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Application programming interface Stories July 5, 2012

YouTube vid-conversion site launches petition against Google, dubs situation ‘David vs. Goliath’

Google wanted to stop YouTube-MP3.org last month from ripping audio embedded in YouTube’s videos, but the conversion website’s 21-year-old owner is not ready to roll over and admit defeat.

YouTube-MP3.org received a letter from the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company last month that threatened to take legal action. Google’s video-sharing platform is free and provides content that is embeddable or accessible through its API, while YouTube-MP3.org is also free and pulls audio from YouTube videos. The website then converts those files into downloadable MP3s. Apparently, despite the API that gives developers access to many features, pirating any sound directly violates YouTube’s Terms of Service agreement.

The June 8 “cease and desist” letter from YouTube’s Associate Product Counsel Harris Cohen addressed the website’s Germany-based owner, Philip Matesanz. Cohen cited the platform’s terms for API in the legal notice, and he noted separating, isolating, or modifying “the audio or video components of any YouTube audiovisual content made available through the YouTube API” is strictly prohibited. Cohen warned of “legal consequences” for YouTube-Mp3.org, and he gave the website a week to comply. However, Google immediately blocked the website’s servers from accessing YouTube.

Matesanz took to his website yesterday, conveniently on the United States’ Independence Day, to give a “Situation Update” on the, well, situation:

After numerous reports questioning the legality of this service I have decided to get case studies from two highly reputable lawyers in Germany to prove the difference. I have asked them to create English reports about the legal situation of this service and the accusations Google has made. They agree that there are no copyrights of a third party violated by providing this service and it has to be considered legal. It might be surprising to some but they also agree that all claims Google has brought up so far are not justified: There is no TOS violation. They even question if Google can take action against so called “YouTube Converters/Recorders” since they seem to be protected by federal law. Google would have to make massive changes to their public broadcasting service to demand that such services shut down e.g. no more embedded videos, restrict access to registered users who have agreed to the TOS[..]. There are also doubts about the legitimacy of the section Google is accusing me to violate: Section 6.1K is designed to abandon a fundamental right all German citizens have. According to federal law you have the unquestionable right to create a private copy of certain media; including YouTube. Google’s attempt to abrogate the rights of the public in their TOS has to be considered as illegal and is in a strong contrast to their public self-representation.

Matesanz further disclosed to readers that YouTube-mp3.org is officially operated through PMD Technologie UG, which is a company registered in Germany, and he has tried to contact Google “multiple times,” but all of his attempts have failed. A recent call to Google’s main legal head was even blocked by an assistant, Matesanz wrote, who claimed Google would only communicate in written form but allegedly did not respond to three e-mails sent.

“I don’t have any marketing or public relations experts […] I am just an IT guy with no experience whatsoever,” Matesanz added, while referring to the case as a “David vs. Goliath situation.”

The computer science student-turned-Google arch nemesis is now attempting to level the playing field with a petition on Change.org, where he asks Google to permit third-party recording services to access YouTube. The petition has over 343,000 signatures.

Application programming interface Stories June 28, 2012

What’s new in Google Maps? Google posts full I/O session [Video]

The video above is the full Google I/O 2012 session on “What’s New in Google Maps” with Googlers Brian McClendon, Dylan Lorimer, and Thor Mitchell. We already saw much of what is talked about at Google’s “Next Dimension of Google Maps” event earlier this month, but the full talk focuses mainly on improvements to the Google Places API.

Google Places covers tens of millions of place locations around the world. But what’s a place? A place is anything that answers the question “Where are you?” Restaurants, shops, landmarks, events, and much more. You can use it in the browser, from a server, or from a mobile device. This talk will show you how to get started with the Google Places API, and focus on how you can use this huge datastore in your mobile application.

For all I/O 2012 sessions, go to https://developers.google.com/io/

Application programming interface Stories June 19, 2012

Google’s Vice President of Product Management Bradley Horowitz announced a Google+ partnership with Flipboard and teased an enterprise version of the social network at Le Web 2012 in London this morning, but he also demonstrated Hangouts…on an iPad.

According to TheNextWeb, the Flipboard partnership will stream Google+ feeds into the app as part of the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company’s new Google+ APIs that now sport limited availability for developers. The integration will also allow Flipboard users to get access to posts, media, and other data without visiting Google+ directly. Other social networks on Flipboard include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Horowitz further demonstrated Google+ Hangouts at the conference with an iPad. TheNextWeb’s Jamillah Knowles was on-hand to ask the executive why he chose Apple’s tablet over an Android device for the conference, but his response was vague (as heard in the audio clip above).

The Googler was also obscure in regards to numbers. He noted the 170 million-user base for Google+ as a “stale” estimate, and he would not give specific stats on whether Google+ apps prod interaction. He did mention, however, that Google has dreams for its social network in the enterprise.

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Application programming interface Stories April 20, 2012

Spring is finally here, and Google announced it wants to clean house again with the seasonal change by killing a slue of products.

“Focus is crucial if we are to improve our execution. We have so many opportunities in front of us that without hard choices we risk doing too much and not having the impact we strive for,” explained Cloud Services Director Matthias Schwab on the Official Google Blog. 

Here is a list of products being nixed:

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Application programming interface Stories April 13, 2012

The trendy photo-sharing app “Instagram” for Android debuted in the Google Play Store nearly two weeks ago and has since increased the service’s user base by 25 percent.

It took Instagram 19 months to reach 30 million iOS users, but it quickly garnered 10 million Android users in less than 10 days.

Gramfeed, a third-party user tracking website, dug into Instagram’s API to determine Mr. Valentino Elbuti (valentinoelbuti) as the 40 millionth user. He recently signed-up and already has four filtered-images posted to his account.

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Application programming interface Stories April 5, 2012

Google announced today in a post on the Inside Google Books blog that it would be discontinuing its reseller program that allowed independent booksellers to sell through Google’s eBook services. The American Booksellers Association sent letters to its members informing them that about 350 independent bookstores selling eBooks through Google’s reseller program would end as of Jan. 31, 2013. The full letter (via Paid Content) is below.

Google’s explanation comes from Director of Product Management for Digital Publishing Scott Dougall:

Looking at the results to-date, it’s clear that the reseller program has not met the needs of many readers or booksellers. While our role as an ebooks wholesaler to booksellers will be coming to a close next year, we remain as committed as ever to making the eBooks experience from Google the best it can be for readers around the world.

For books that customers have already purchased, Google confirmed they would continue to “be able to access and read their eBooks on the web, phones, tablets and compatible eReaders.” Google will also help its 16 reseller partners “as they transition in the coming months” by continuing to give access to free Books APIs and highlighting them in the “Buy this book” section of Google Book search.

The full letter from the ABA to its members is below:

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Application programming interface Stories April 4, 2012

Google just rolled out updates to a few of its Android apps, the biggest of which brings a ton of new features to “Gmail for Android” 3.2 (Honeycomb) users. Previously, only Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich users had access to features like swiping between conversations, custom notifications for labels, and the ability to sync messages for the last 30 days. All of those features and the rest of the Ice Cream Sandwich Gmail experience are now being implemented for Honeycomb users. The updated app is available on Google Play now, and a full list of the features is below:

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Application programming interface Stories March 28, 2012

Just when the tech-world is seemingly about to explode with apps—apps for Android, apps for iPhone, apps for set-top boxes, apps for computers, apps for Facebook—Google adds to the bubbling pot with Google+ Hangout apps.

Google Product Manager Amit Fulay announced on Google+ today the first implementation of apps in the social network’s standout multi-person video chat feature:

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