closed down its Android developer complaint forums on Monday, telling developers to contact Google directly with any problems they have working with the platform. This is a double-edged sword. Foremost, it should help developers get timely and in-depth answers to developer's questions that were not often provided on the forums. Yet, is this another sign of Google reigning in Android to be less "open" than it once was?Google
The Android developer complaint forums, like many other forums, were a bit feast and famine. Developers posting about specific problems that they wanted answers to would often go without a reply or very nominal engagement from the community. Yet, when it came to hot-button issues, like developer payments, the forum would become a volatile pool of comments and rhetoric coming from developers. By closing the forums, what is Google responding to? The developers not getting answers or the venom that can come from the community?
Google has said that the current "known issues" page will remain open until all of those bugs are fixed. Thereafter, the company will handle bugs on an issue-to-issue basis.
An uproar happened in the Android developer's forum earlier in August over the matter of payments. Developers had not seen payments from the Android Market through Web-based sales from market.android.com. Google has worked to fix the problem. Sales from the Android Market website were nominal, but it a matter of professional obligation that developers get paid from every source of revenue in a timely matter.
The forum (and other areas where Android developers congregate) have thrown out the idea of a "developer's union" that would make industry standards on how, when and from where developers get paid. With such a disparate group (developers are worldwide, ranging from basements of their mother's house to international corporations), it would be touch to imagine that developers could make a significant union that would actually get anything done.
Yet, moves like Google taking away their forum for venting and discussing with the community might be a step in that direction.
What say you Android developers? Are you going to miss the forum? Is it better to try and communicate directly with Google? What about a union?