This is hysterical. I have had three conversations in the last week about Google+ and the API release. The conversations have ranged between “no way” to “they would be stupid not to.” Well, the gods have spoken. Google+ released the first set of public APIs to the development community on Friday. For those of you not familiar with API:

An application programming interface (API) is a particular set of rules (‘code’) and specifications that software programs can follow to communicate with each other. It serves as an interface between different software programs and facilitates their interaction, similar to the way the user interface facilitates interaction between humans and computers.

To put it plainly:

An application programming interface (API) gives developers the ability to build on top of a social network. For example, the API of Facebook allows developers to create games and applications like Farmville and SocialRSS.

At this moment, the Google+ API allows developers to only acquire public data being shared by users. This is an important step in the revolution of Google+. Why is the release important?

1. Developers Will Build a Better Google+ – We know the gods of Google have wisdom but there is a limit (remember Google Buzz?). By allowing developers to tap into the Google+ API, Google is asking the development world to create a better Google+ for users.

”For all of you developers who have been asking for a Google+ API, this is the start. Experiment with it. Build apps on it. Give us your feedback and ideas,” wrote Chris Chabot of Google+ Developer Relations.

2. Making Mark Zuckerberg Sweat. I liked Mark in the Social Network. I really did. However, I think he deserves to sweat. Even though Facebook the massive user network, Google+ is starting to build momentum.  This API release is just another nightmare for Mark.

3. Sharing Between Sites. I’m going to be honest. I’m not a huge fan of Google+ (at the moment). There is not enough time in the day  to manage the Google+ profile among all the others. The API release will help connect different social networks to the Google+ interface. As a user, I want the ability to share a Flickr photo or Foursquare update.

Twitter has made over one million apps from more than 750,000 people who are members of its developer community. This has allowed the site to encourage the development of tools like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and other applications. I don’t know about you but Hootsuite makes my life easier.

4. For Survival – API is Key. As the IBTimes in San Fransico stated, “Opening a thriving communities for developers, as both Twitter and Facebook have done, is a must for social networking Web sites to succeed.” It is the truth.

5. Google Becomes Mainstream. I have had plenty of clients and individuals ask me about the importance of Google+. I make sure to explain that Google+ is currently under the “early adopter” phase of development. The beginning of API development allows for the creation of tools that will bring the masses to use the site. Exciting stuff!

6. Google Starts to Become Sexy. Google has never been sexy. This is despite the release of technology that has changed user’s lives (Apps and Gmail). Opening the API makes Google sexy (some what). It also allows them to build/create products that are sexier than the competition.

Robert Scoble from Rackspace announced, “I heard from someone working with Google that Google is working on a Flipboard competitor for both Android and iPad. My source says that the versions he’s seen so far are mind-blowing good.”

I’m not a developer but I do understand the importance of the Google+ API release. I would recommend starting a Google+ account and learning the ropes. It is important to understand the development of this site even though your customers might not be using it.

If you are a developer, check out Douglas Karr’s breakdown of the Google+ platform.

What do you think of this release? Important or not?