Amidst all the Facebook news, have you noticed how quiet the Google Plus team has been this week? Too quiet, eh? Here's why: they've just released the first documents for the Google Plus API. Today on the new Google Plus Platform Blog, the Plus team has opened parts of the API to developers, and this is "just the beginning."

The time has come for outside applications built on the Google Plus platform. With this release, Google has laid out its policies for independent developers, which it summarizes with three simple principles: "put the user first, be transparent, and respect user data." And with that, off to the races.

It will be some time before developers see the full potential of Google Plus, though. There are no APIs for Circles or private data here. This first release is focused only on public data, as are the recent Google releases incorporating Plus into other services, like search results. Because it only involves public data, the process of authorizing apps is simple:

The Plus team also makes an effort to adhere to open Web standards. "We love the way the programmable web has evolved," the post says, "so we're using existing standards and best practices wherever we can." This is a refreshing message, considering the attention Google has attracted recently for seeming to work against Web-standard technologies and practices.

Since the social network launched in June and put out a call for developers, this API has been hotly anticipated. Our ReadWriteHack poll found that a commanding majority of our developer readers were interested in playing with it. This summer, we laid out some ground rules about what Google would have to do to win developers' hearts with this API, and it looks good so far, though devs only have access to public data at this point.

More Google Plus API news is sure to come following this first announcement, so stay tuned.

What kinds of apps would you like to see built on top of Google Plus? Discuss in the comments.