To increase its enterprise standing and encourage adoption, Google Cloud today announced “Google Enterprise APIs” that will be governed by a stricter policy in regards to when the company changes or deprecates them.
Google Enterprise APIs are specifically a “label applied to the vast majority of APIs across Google Cloud, Google Workspace, and Google Maps Platform.” Consumer APIs are not included in the latter product, but everything given this classification will be governed by a “stringent set of requirements about how and when we make changes to them.”
Reliability and stability are the focus with Google trying to assure third-party companies that APIs will “continue to work as expected and not trigger unanticipated development work.”
Our working principle is that no feature may be removed (or changed in a way that is not backwards compatible) for as long as customers are actively using it. If a deprecation or breaking change is inevitable, then the burden is on us to make the migration as effortless as possible.
In terms of “actively using,” customers will be notified one year in advance about upcoming changes. The product will remain the same during that time, while Google will offer tools and docs to “migrate to newer versions with equivalent functionality and performance.”
We will also work with customers to help them reduce their usage to as close to zero as possible.
The one exception to sudden changes is if there are critical security, legal, or intellectual property issues with an API. Otherwise, changes will be “reviewed by a centralized board of product and engineering leads.”
In all, Google says it takes the “decision to wind down any product very seriously.” It hopes to balance “innovation and stability” with Google Enterprise APIs.