Google Cloud offers a model for fixing Google’s product-killing reputation

Google Cloud Platform, no longer perpetually under construction?

Enlarge / Google Cloud Platform, no longer perpetually under construction?

Google’s reputation for aggressively killing services is hurting the company’s brand. Any new product launch from Google is no longer met with optimism but instead is inundated with comments about when it will be shut down. It’s a problem entirely of Google’s own making, but it’s yet another barrier that discourages investing (either time, money, or data) in the latest Google thing. The wide skepticism faced by Google Stadia today is a great example.

A Google division with a similar problem is Google Cloud Platform, which asks companies and developers to build a product or service powered by Google’s cloud infrastructure. Like the rest of Google, Cloud Platform has a reputation for instability thanks to quickly deprecating APIs, making any project hosted on Google’s platform require continual updating to keep up with the latest changes. Google Cloud wants to address this though, with a new “Enterprise API” designation.

Enterprise APIs basically get a roadmap that promises stability for certain APIs. Google says, “The burden is on us: 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.” If Google does need to change an API, customers will now get a minimum of one year’s notice, along with tools, documentation, and other materials. Google goes on to say “To make sure we follow these tenets, any change we introduce to an API is reviewed by a centralized board of product and engineering leads and follows a rigorous product lifecycle evaluation.”

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