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Gundotra: Google+ developers, you can trust us

With a brouhaha brewing over Facebook's tactics, Google's Vic Gundotra explains why Google+ doesn't have a full write API -- yet.

Vic Gundotra
Google's Vic Gundotra on stage at Google I/O in May 2011. James Martin/CNET

The senior vice president of engineering at Google, Vic Gundotra, who is also leading the charge in the technology giant's social media efforts, has explained why Google+ does not currently offer a full write API.

The decision to postpone an API for the social network has been met with some contention by developers eager to begin building on the platform. Even though complaints have come in thick and fast from some third-party developers, Gundotra insists that a half-baked offering will do more damage than good.

The timing is certainly spot-on for Google, as social networking giant Facebook took a public thrashing this week by developer Dalton Caldwell. In a blog post titled "Dear Mark Zuckerberg," the developer accused Facebook of bullying tactics and "financial motivations that are not in-line with users & developers."

The developer apparently attended a meeting in which a product he was designing was considered too similar -- and potentially competitive -- to the new App center. Caldwell claims that the relations staff at the firm put pressure on him to sell-up -- or risk destruction.

After his experience dealing with Facebook, Caldwell said:

The meeting took an odd turn when the individuals in the room explained that the product I was building was competitive with your recently-announced Facebook App Center product.

Your executives explained to me that they would hate to have to compete with the "interesting product" I had built, and that since I am a "nice guy with a good reputation" that they wanted to acquire my company to help build App Center. [..] Personally speaking, I am resolved to never write another line of code for rotten-to-the-core "platforms" like Facebook or Twitter. Lesson learned.

Taking advantage of the situation, Gundotra took to Google+, writing:

When we open an API, we want developers to feel confident that the innovations they build are going to be long lasting. Releasing an API, and then later changing the rules of the game isn't fun for anyone, especially developers who’ve spent their life’s energies building on the platform.

He then wrote "I'm not interested in screwing over developers," offering a direct link to Caldwell's blog post.

At the moment, only carefully chosen partners have access to Google+ on a development level. However, Gundotra insists that the full write API will be released -- when the timing is right. He concluded:

"So I'm sorry that we haven’t released a wide open write API for those of you who want one. We're being careful because we want to be different. You know, actually respectful of developers who build on our platform. It’s novel. I know."

This story originally appeared at ZDNet's Between the Lines under the headline "Google+: We won't screw over developers."