Google streamlines API terms of service

The move simplifies the terms and makes them more consistent across Google's API offerings

Google is streamlining the terms of service for its APIs, with the goal of making them easier to understand and more technically consistent, the company said this week. Google also is removing the Code Labs label from APIs on code.google.com.

The rewritten terms do not post dramatic functional changes, said Adam Feldman, Google APIs product manager, in a blog post. "For all the APIs that share this single terms of service, you won't need to study a whole new document, although some have brief specific additional terms," Feldman said. "In this rewrite, we have removed more than 125,000 words from the combined previous terms, resulting in less to read and faster access to your favorite APIs. Over time, other APIs will be migrated to the new terms."

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Google has such APIs as Analytics, for viewing and managing Google Analytics data; Audit, for accessing user activities in an enterprise; and Web Fonts Developer. Google's terms of service, modified last week, feature conditions such as users perhaps needing a Google account and requiring end-user compliance with laws and terms. Google also may limit API access at its discretion, monitor API use, and forbid sublicensing of APIs. Also, API users cannot perform any malicious actions, such as introducing viruses or worms. Additional terms, including a provision pertaining to malware and phishing protection, are at Google's API terms Web page.

The terms of service serve as another step to make the APIs more consistent by sharing infrastructure like Google APIs Discovery Service, APIs Explorer, and APIs Console. Meanwhile, in removing the Code Labs label from APIs on google.com, Google restated its Google Labs program had wound down. "APIs formerly in Code Labs will now use the standard header in their documentation. The APIs themselves are unchanged," Feldman said.

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