Changes to deprecation policies and API spring cleaning

April 20, 2012

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Author PhotoBy Adam Feldman, APIs Product Manager

It’s 2012. These days technology moves fast and we want to keep our developer products moving and innovating fast, too. In an effort to align our pace of development with the market, we did a careful analysis of our API deprecation policies. Based on our conclusions, we've decided to adopt a one-year policy for some APIs, remove the policy for other APIs and make the policy itself simpler and clearer. This doesn't mean we have changed the way we think about our APIs - we are more committed than ever to offering stable and relevant APIs to our developer community.

Most of these changes will happen over the next several years, but today we are giving you advance notice. As always, we will strive to keep changes to a minimum and announce them in a timely manner.

One-year API deprecation policies

As part of our effort to evolve our developer platform (like introducing the Google APIs Terms of Service), we are moving some services to a one-year deprecation policy, a common industry practice among similar APIs. The four services moving to a one-year policy are:
Google App Engine, Google Maps/Earth APIs and YouTube API will wind down their current 3-year deprecation policy and will transition to the one-year policy in April 2014. Google Cloud Storage keeps its current one-year policy. To be very clear, we are not deprecating the APIs themselves.

Clearer deprecation policy language

For the above APIs, we've shortened our deprecation policy to be clearer and more concise. The new policy simply states that we will strive to provide one year notice before making breaking changes. For details, see each API's Terms of Service, such as the Google Maps/Earth APIs.

Removal of deprecation policies

For Google's other APIs, we are removing the deprecation policy - not the API. In most cases, this change will not take effect until April 2015. Check the following affected APIs' Terms of Service for details: Accounts API, AdSense Host API, Chart Tools API, Checkout API, Contacts API, Custom Search API, Documents API, Doubleclick for Publishers API, Feed API, Google Apps Admin APIs, Libraries API, Orkut API, Picasa Web Albums API, and Prediction API.

During the remainder of the deprecation period, these APIs will also benefit from the clearer deprecation policy language. Our commitment to the underlying APIs remains unchanged. We will continue to work very hard to communicate any changes to our APIs well in advance, regardless of the APIs' deprecation policy.

Retirement of older APIs

In addition, we are announcing the deprecation of several older APIs and versions. Please visit the documentation for each API for more information about the deprecation period and suggested alternatives:
Our commitment to developers

Our change in policy is designed to make it easier for us to bring you the technology you’ve come to expect from Google: technology that excels at ease-of-use and scalability, and enables you to focus on building your unique application. Our team remains committed to existing APIs as well as building powerful new Google technology into our developer platform.

Adam Feldman is a Product Manager, focusing on all of Google's APIs and making sure Google provides the best possible platform to developers.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor