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Introducing Google Open Source: A Dedicated Website for All of the Company’s Open Source Projects

Introducing Google Open Source: A Dedicated Website for All of the Company’s Open Source Projects

by Adrian Ababei on Apr 03 2017

Google's been not just “a” member of the open source community, but one of its leading members. It's been advocating for the usage of open source as a sure path to innovation for a while now.

This is no breaking news for anyone!

Therefore, hearing that the California-based giant has taken a big leap forward in terms of “openness”, in terms of “exposing “behind-the-scene” details of its relationship with open source software, hasn't surprised us, the OPTASY team, all that much! 

“Not so surprised” and yet: we can't deny that we're still excited about Google's announcement!

It practically opens a large window for us, the “outsiders”, to “peep into” the company's code and other “in-house” code created for developing their open source projects. The website's not just a repository of key information on Google's projects and processes, but it gives away details on how precisely they're being used inside the company. 

The revealed code will co-exist both on Google's own self-hosted git service, as well as on GitHub. And, in this equation Opensource.google.com will play the role of a central directory for them. And “feasting” on the information showcased there is not just for “fun” or for mere curiosity, but you should take it as an opportunity: it actually offers an insight into the best practices when it comes to developing open sources projects!

And this is just the beginning for, Will Norris, Open Source Programs Office at Google declared: “it also contains something unexpected: a look under the hood at how we “do” open source”.

Google's planning to showcase there information about project life cycle and they commit to keep adding new and new details on how they approach open source “in-house”. So, no need to put on your “binoculars” and try “spying” on what's happening “behind the closed curtains”, at Google. No need to strive to get your insights on their open source projects! The future looks bright for you!

For it seems that the company's willing to put its inside information “on a silver plate” for you. Meaning: under one single handy URL!

 

About Google's Own Open Source Philosophy

… revolves around one essential principle: everyone can benefit from open source!

In Google's own “philosophy” open source sets the perfect context for teams to collaborate, to share information and to work together for creating new technologies.

The company sees open source as a sure path to innovation, as we've already stated!

Collaboration” is, therefore, the main word behind Google's idea of open source. And “collaboration” goes hand in hand with the idea of “community”, with the idea of “the community of developers participating” in developing open source projects together.

In addition to this, Google has revealed its other key principles supporting its open source philosophy: the “more is better” one.

What does it mean? It means that the company's committed to showcasing as many open source projects as possible on their newly launched website. And this because they agree that they do not know, from the very start, which ones of them will have a larger audience.

Therefore, they're decided to keep posting code, this leading to a repository of thousands of open source projects that developers can “scan through” and select the information they need.

 

Opensource.google.com: What's Its Purpose?

One of the clarifications that the Google's officials have made was that their new site isn't designed with a one and only purpose in mind: to showcase the company's open source projects.

It's supposed to be a “tool” that developers can use to discover how these projects are used internally. Both overviews of these projects and explanations on how they're being used are provided there.

Also, another mention they've is that developers shouldn't take their showcased code and explanations on how this is being utilized inside the company as “absolute” how-to guides.They're just “starting points” or “inspiration” on how the company approaches open source. They're aimed at empowering you to venture yourself on the open source-provided path to innovation.

An incentive to collaborate for creating new technologies.

 

But What Type of Information Will Go Public More Precisely?

You're more than entitled to ask yourself right now: “But what type of topics will the information on Google's new site be covering?” And, also: “How will the content get structured on Opensource.google.com?”

In this respect, let us detail a bit. Here's what Google's public collection will include:

 

  • information on how to submit patches to other open source projects

     
  • Google's policies regarding third-party open source projects 

     
  • key information about Google's release processes for its new open source projects 

     

Up to now Google's new site sums up 2000 projects.

When it comes to content structuring and facilitating the user's/developer's access to certain information, a search feature has been added (besides the drop-down menu displaying the categories available on the website). This turns out to be a more than useful tool in case you already know what you need a certain project for, but you don't have your mind set on a specific bit of software.  

 

In Conclusion:

Judging by how other Google open source projects, such as TensorFlow and Kubernetes have evolved (turning into “constellation” type of projects, each with its own set of ecosystems gravitating around it), the documents piled up and made public on this website are a major opportunity from a developer's standpoint. No doubt about that!

It also delivers inspiration for other companies to embrace open source and to showcase their own “behind the closed door” code. 

How about you? How do you perceive the new Google site's release and how do you position yourself, as a company, when it comes to open source? Do you see any opportunity in revealing your internal code to “outsiders”?

 

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