Reaffirming our commitment to open documentation

JUN 21, 2013
Author PhotoBy Ashleigh Rentz, Developer Programs team

Since 2006, we’ve believed in freely licensing our developer documentation. We believe this is best for all of us, both Google and the developer community. We most often rely on the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license for documentation and the Apache 2.0 license for code samples.

The freedom to reuse code samples encourages the wider adoption of our APIs and spares you from having to reinvent the wheel when you begin using our products. The freedom to create derivative works from our documentation is beneficial to book authors, bloggers, and even non-English speakers when members of the developer community translate our docs into additional languages. It’s a winning situation for all of us!

During the intervening years, however, some docs were not explicitly licensed in this manner. We wanted to bring them in line with this practice, so we embarked on a review of all our documentation on this week and made sure they all have a footer displaying the license they’re subject to. The vast majority of our docs are now available under liberal terms that we hope will spur new innovation in the community. In the rare cases where a doc isn’t being freely licensed for some reason, we now clearly display “All rights reserved” so you aren’t left wondering. We’ve also tweaked our internal process for publishing new documentation so that pages yet to be written will display a license footer when they’re released. Here’s to the sharing of knowledge!

Ashleigh Rentz supports the team of technical writers who tirelessly document Google’s developer products. She can often be seen skating down the hallways between meetings.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor