Google+ is growing up.
The fledgling social media platform, which has increasingly been seen as more of a threat to Facebook and Twitter, just took another step towards social media maturity with the release of some new hooks to let other social media management tools connect directly to Google's social network.
Businesses and organizations have been chomping at the bit for these APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), so that social media management tools like HootSuite and Buddy Media can fully connect with Google+ pages, ever since Google introduced its Pages feature to the social platform back in November.
Some conections were available, but only to a select few software partners, according to Google developer Eduardo Thuler.
"In recent months we've been been previewing a new set of Google+ management APIs with some of these companies (including Buddy Media, Context Optional, Hearsay Social, HootSuite, Involver, and Vitrue)," Thuler wrote on his Google+ page.
But even that access to Google+ Pages was limited. HootSuite, for instance, was not allowed to let too many users access the social media management app to control a Page account. So only paid users of the app were given this access.
Now that the APIs are available to all, no such restrictions are in place, and social media management is a wide-open field for Google+.
The APIs only let third-party tools manage a brand or business page, not a personal Google+ account. But this is a huge help for businesses that want to capitalize on Google+, because now they can use third-party tools to schedule, monitor and track posts as needed.
This represents a big change for Google+, if only because businesses will start to take it much more seriously. Google+ was slammed at its initial launch for having little to no tools for businesses to make their presence known on the platform, and even after Pages were introduced, Google still guarded its APIs strongly.
If anything, today's change means that Google+ has shaken off any "lab" reputation it might have had, so Google's annoying tendency to drop services that people still like probably won't apply to Google+.
Google+ is growing fast, thanks to all the new Android users who get signed on when they activate their phones. That's a big audience to tap into, and the new APIs make it easier for businessesto climb on board to be a part of the experience.