Juan Carlos Perez brings up a good point today in PC World about the Google Maps developers’ community. Citing Ray Valdes – a Gartner analyst – the journalist explains how Google fails to create incentives around its Google Maps’ API:
“When you meet a developer in a social setting some will say ‘I’m an iPhone developer’ or ‘I’m a Facebook developer’ or ‘I’m a Microsoft .Net developer.’ It’s rare to hear a developer say ‘I’m a Google developer’ or ‘I’m an OpenSocial developer.’ Google needs to get to that level of engagement with developers,” Valdes added.
The cause identified by analysts is Google’s shaky platform coherence: Google products are hardly connected to one another, a real puzzle for developers who wish to integrate different products into one. Analysts see the Android mobile platform as Google products’ convergence point. Google Maps is Google’s gateway to the mobile phone – on Android and beyond – yet its developers’ community is held in muddy waters.
Google Maps already makes money through the mobile deals it inked worldwide. On the Web, businesses utilizing Google Maps at the core of their product have to be self-reliable to survive. Instead of nurturing its developers’ community, Google operates occasional purges, which brings the level of stress even higher.
One thing Google Maps could do is create a reward system. This would attract more entrepreneur-spirited minds into evangelizing the Google Maps’ technology:
“The number one thing that would help us as developers is more evangelism [...]; there are great opportunities out there, just not enough people popularizing them,” (PC World)
Google Maps could also share its mobile revenues with the developers who stimulate mobile usage with their applications. This strategy could only be beneficial to Google’s convergence towards mobile phones.