Google Cloud introduces designated Enterprise APIs

The public cloud provider is trying to burnish its reputation with its enterprise customers, in part by minimizing any disruption to customers with API changes.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Google Cloud on Monday is rolling out a new designation for a set of APIs that are important for enterprise customers across Google Cloud, Google Workspace, and Google Maps Platform. The new Enterprise APIs are governed by a set of tenets to ensure that any changes will bring as little disruption as possible to the customer. 

In effect, "We make it really hard to cause breaking changes for these APIs that would require our customers to do work," Kripa Krishnan, VP of Google Cloud and Technical Infrastructure, explained to ZDNet

"Over the last several years at Google Cloud, we've really been trying to invest time to improve the experience of our customers on our platform," she continued. "So this is just another step. We've faced some criticism in how we support customers, especially with the stability of our API's -- for example, removing APIs without notice or [giving customers] enough time to respond. So we're trying to address that problem."

First, the Enterprise APIs are governed by the principle 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 Google Cloud will make the migration as effortless as possible. The only exception to this rule is if there are critical security, legal, or intellectual property issues caused by the feature.

Second, customers will receive a minimum of one year's notice of an impending change. If a new version with equivalent functionality and performance is available, customers will have access to tools, docs, and other materials to migrate. Google will also work with customers to help them reduce their usage to as close to zero as possible. 

Lastly, any change Google introduces to an API will be reviewed by a centralized board of product and engineering leads and will follow a rigorous product lifecycle evaluation.

"In a high innovation space, we expect that we do need to make changes often, but we don't want it to cause more work for our customers," Krishnan said.

The tenets governing the Enterprise APIs, she added, are "not just a description of a bunch of mechanical steps for people to follow" but a "shift in the mindset of the organization... We're trying to pivot more and more towards putting customers front and center."

Google piloted these changes across Google Cloud over the last several months and ran it past one of its customer advisory boards. Now, the newly designated Google Enterprise APIs are listed as such in the API Library and Google Cloud Marketplace

Among other steps Google has taken to improve enterprise relationships, the cloud provider has introduced a premium consultative service called Mission Critical Services, and it introduced simplified launch stages to lay out a more predictable product roadmap.

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