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Google’s Gundotra Courts Developers As Facebook and Twitter Stumble

If you didn’t read Mike Isaac’s great article from yesterday about Twitter’s new Cards technology and the implications for developers in the world of Twitter you should. I’m not a developer but it’s important as marketers to see where Twitter is going as a platform in order to think about how it can be leveraged for marketing needs.

Couple that information with Dalton Caldwell’s open letter to Mark Zuckerberg about his less than stellar experience with a team of executive goons from Facebook and you have an opportunity. Isaac wrote about that as well yesterday

Dalton Caldwell, a Silicon Valley veteran whose past experience includes co-founding iMeem and PicPlz, has posted an accusatory account of his recent negotiations with top Facebook executives: Caldwell says Facebook told him they offered to buy an app and service he was building, implying they would “destroy [his] business” if he didn’t sell.

Wait. Who exactly has the opportunity I mentioned earlier? Google and the Google+ team, of course. While developers the world over realize that they truly are at the mercy of the platforms they develop on and that security for the future is virtually non-existent (oh and that they are truly second class citizens at best in the respective ecosystems), in rides Google’s Vic Gundotra on his white horse named “Developer Integrity”. In a Google+ post that serves as an introduction into Caldwell’s post, he says

I’m not interested in screwing over developers. 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.

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.

Let’s read between the lines here.

“I’m not interested in screwing over developers” Translation – Hey, all of you developers who are feeling the pain of being reamed by Facebook and Twitter, we are not going to go that over here at Google. The pain you are feeling is not where we are going with Google+. Doesn’t that great as you nurse your wounds and try to rebuild the ruins of your business?

“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.” Translation – The ‘get it out the door in some form that is far from perfect’ approach from our competition is not the way to treat anyone. As a result, we at Google will not toy with you by changing the rules midstream (at least in theory). You van trust us because we see how poorly Facebook and Twitter are treating you.

“You know, actually respectful of developers who build on our platform. It’s novel.” I know. Translation – The rest of our industry is getting rich off of your backs and they are crushing you into the ground as they step over and through you. We don’t think that’s right even though it’s how everyone else is acting. We are not going to be like everyone else so you can breathe easy and know that we see how pathetic our competition is and we won’t do that to you. It’s because we care (wink, wink, nod, nod).

So what’s ol’ Vic driving at? Isaac says in yet another article (he’s a busy one isn’t he?)

When our enemies stumble publicly, some take the high road and steer clear of mentioning our adversary’s folly. But for others, some things are just too good to pass up.

That someone is Gundotra and while he may appear to be an opportunist I see nothing wrong with his tactic. Don’t you think the folks at Facebook and Twitter wait for the moments when Google stumbles to do the same thing? You bet your sweet ‘you know what’ they do.

It just might work out in the end that Facebook and Twitter alienate the very people who helped build the respective companies enough that they switch allegiance and work to make Google+ what the others were not. In the end, we the end user could be the ultimate beneficiary of these developer turf wars and that would be a good thing.

What do you think?