Google’s new People API streamlines how apps can gather contact data
Whether we’re interacting with a new social network, organizing a get-together, or just sending out some old-fashioned emails, there are a lot of good reasons for an app to tap into our ever-growing list of personal contacts. Between info we gather ourselves, and stuff that can be pulled from online sources, our phones have access to a lot of data about our friends, relatives, and co-workers. On Android so far, giving apps access to all this stuff has been a bit of a hodgepodge of API calls, a consequence of the growing body of information that apps can draw from. Going forward, Google’s making a big effort to simplify things, and to that end, today it announces the new People API.
While the technical workings of the People API may be of most interest to developers, the gist of it is that Google’s making it easier for apps to find all of our contact data in one unified place. The People API also adds some new abilities that weren’t previously available to apps at all, like allowing them to pull up private data when we’ve given them explicit permission to do so.
We know, it’s hard to get excited about things that don’t do much more on the surface than make things easier for developers. But just think: evolving APIs like this one encourage devs to try new things with their software, expand into areas they might not have touched otherwise, and offer richer connectivity to our offline lives. We don’t know if the People API will help spawn the next great productivity app or plant the seeds that become some new, smarter Tinder, but we’re just happy to see Google giving devs the tools that might help create that possibility.