Google+ Redesign Breaks Developer's Apps And Extensions

Developer & Design

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"Thank you Google for breaking all my apps and extensions without warning!"

That's what Mohamed Mansour, creator of the Google+ extension that helps the blind use the service, said today on his Google+ profile. What follows is a rant explaining how the changes made to Google+ are self-serving while leaving the developer community up a particularly muddled creek without a paddle.

To understand this, we have to look at the changes Google announced for their social media platform today. The company added new features to the service including the ribbon that allows access to all your tabs from the left side. It also adds a dedicated page for hangouts. All in all, it sounds pretty awesome for the regular user. The developer... not so much.

Mansour asks Google why they are "trying to be so evil to the developer community?" While he agrees that change is good, he wonders why Google never provided developers a transition period to test their apps and make sure everything works. He says that his apps and extensions had been downloaded over two million times and that he had poured countless hours of personal time into the platform.

All of this wouldn't be so bad if it was just a few problems, but Mansou insists that many machines visiting Google+ now have a broken experience. He says, "many errors will be shown, many popups will be alerted, our thousands of hours of hard work down the drain."

In what might be the ultimate slap in the face, Mansou says that Facebook would never do anything like this. While Facebook development does have its detractors, it's true that the company pushes out early versions of new layouts for developers to test on. Just looking at the weekly Operation Developer Love posts shows you that the platform is dedicated to making sure developers stay on top of things.

What Mansour seems to be most upset over though is what he perceives as Google building upon their work and not thanking the developer community for it. Here's the important bit:

From the entire blog post that Google released, not even a "Thank You" to any of the developers who contributed to the success of the first Google+ version. Look at the new version, it has a lot of what extensions had. But I guess they dislike giving credit where it is due. We are like Ghosts to them! Great news!

He ends by saying that he will quit Google+ and move onto "another platform to tinker with that will welcome us, Facebook."

While this very well could just be the angry rant of a single developer, the 113 comments on his post indicate that it's a much larger problem than just one man. One developer says that "60 percent of the page [is] now useless info with a slice of G+ stream." Another says that he gave up on creating apps for Google+ because he saw this very situation happening.

This isn't the first time this year that Google has seemingly pissed of the developer collective. When Google I/O tickets sold out in 20 minutes, developers accused the company of not caring about the people that support them.

While these events may muddy Google's image in the eyes of developers, it's important to note how many other times Google has supported the development community. As the developer writer for WebProNews, I'm astounded by the amount of blog posts and alerts Google sends out to make sure developers stay on top of the changes they're making to Chrome and other services. It's true that Google should have provided some notice in regards to the Google+ changes, but to claim that Google doesn't care about developers at all might be a litte much.

Did the changes made to Google+ break your apps and/or extensions? Is Mansour right to say that Google doesn't care about the developer community? Let us know in the comments.

[Lead image: Mohamed Mansour]