With Google Cloud gaining steam in the services marketplace, the technology giant is doubling down on making its platform more sustainable in the long run. Catering to enterprise users remains critical to spurring continued growth. While services like GCP, Google Maps, and Google Workspace host numerous SDKs or APIs, Google has recognized that API standards must now exceed those set forth by its consumer-grade, “everyday” offerings.

Enter Google Enterprise APIs: a collection of specialized business APIs focused on stability, compatibility, and governance. These 184 APIs live on both the Google Cloud Marketplace and within the API Library. Developers can also access tutorials and documentation here — plus incorporate them into selected projects using the Google Cloud Console. Google hopes that this philosophical product shift will keep customers happier and attached to its software. What else is significant about the announcement? Let’s dive in and assess the Enterprise APIs and the mechanisms behind them.

What APIs Are Included?

Google explicitly calls out its Google Cloud Platform API, Google Workspace API, and Google Maps API within its Cloud APIs documentation. The company is keen on providing dedicated customer support for these core APIs within its ecosystem. Potential inquiries include questions on coding assistance, implementation, and general functionality. Though support mechanisms might differ for these three APIs, Google intends to offer full support for all enterprise variants moving forward.

The vast majority of GCP, Maps, and Workspace APIs have received the Enterprise API labeling. However, Google APIs unassociated with these platforms won’t receive special status moving forward. Many of Google’s new Enterprise APIs fall under the following categories or products:

  • Access
  • Anthos
  • Apigee
  • BigQuery
  • Cloud Bigtable
  • Cloud Data and Datastore
  • CloudSQL
  • Containers
  • GKE
  • Google Cloud
  • Workstation apps
  • Maps
  • Networking
  • Service management
  • Stackdriver

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means. The complete collection of Google Enterprise APIs is incredibly diverse — spanning most of the company’s cloud suite and associated functions. 182 APIs are categorized as public, while only two are private. For reference, there are 350 APIs available through Google’s API Library, thus making Enterprise a sizable chunk.

Understanding the Development Roadmap

On the whole, Google aims to make its latest class of APIs more stable. But, what exactly does that mean? That effort starts with the company’s intended development approach, which centers on avoiding breaking changes. Google wants enterprise customers to spend less time troubleshooting throughout the API lifecycle. Features currently in use won’t be removed; any changes to core features will always promote backward compatibility. The onus is on Google to handle any deprecations intelligently without causing a ripple effect.

If features do change, these changes must be reviewed by a “board of product-and-engineering leads.” Customers will then have a one-year window to migrate towards newer alternatives — and ones that won’t, theoretically, gimp performance or functionality. While eliminating concessions is a noble goal, customer feedback on those forced migrations is yet to come. Google will continue gathering this feedback as time passes.

These enterprise strategies fit into a larger Google support initiative. For example, they coexist with the company’s Mission Critical Services consulting resource — a premium level of support promoting check-ins and development based on best practices. It should also be easier for customers to understand pending feature migrations. Google previously employed a four-stage development pipeline; today, that’s been reduced to two simplified steps within GCP (Preview and General Availability). It’s yet another measure to make Google API utilization more predictable.

What Does This Mean for the Industry?

It’s unclear how major Cloud Service Providers like Amazon and Microsoft will react — if they will — to Google’s Enterprise API introduction. What’s certain is that Google wants and needs to secure more market share in a competitive cloud space. Currently, the vendor claims just 7% of the global cloud-computing pie. The company’s trajectory and earnings have been quite positive; however, there’s still an abandonment stigma attached to Google.

Accordingly, both leadership and the cloud-services teams are working to reverse that narrative on the enterprise front. It’s also believed that competitors have historically made much fewer changes to their core services; whether that’s reflective of their stagnation or Google’s instability is up for interpretation. By building trust, Google will hope to convert users and retain them. Working against Amazon’s seven-year head start isn’t an easy task, but the company will continue pushing forward.

Google’s Enterprise APIs have arrived at a time characterized by high expectations for stability, performance, and security. Customers — and especially business ones — value predictability from their vendors more than ever before. The industry is seeing explosive growth in the quantity of APIs offered. Given that transparency and uptime are indispensable, Google’s initiative will surely be a welcome one amongst developers. It’ll be interesting to see if Cloud API Service Consistency (CASC) scores, pioneered by API.expert, will reflect these changes.