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Mobile Developers See More Promise in Google Plus than iCloud

Mobile application developers believe that Google’s new social network Google Plus will have more impact on mobile growth and adoption than Apple’s iCloud, or even iOS 5’s Twitter integration. This is just one of the fascinating findings related to Google Plus revealed within the results of a new developer survey led by mobile cloud platform provider Appcelerator and analyst firm IDC. Together, the two companies had surveyed 2,012 app developers to better understand their take on current and future mobile trends.

The interest in Google Plus is somewhat surprising, considering that the social network’s age is still measured in weeks, not months. But, according to Appcelerator’s VP of Marketing, Scott Schwarzhoff, developers often take the long view when considering new services such as this, thinking 12, 16 or 18 months out into the future.

For example, last year, Appcelerator saw developers were displaying great enthusiasm for Apple’s iPad pre-launch. And it’s now seeing the same excitement for Google Plus.

How Developers See Google Plus

At 25% of respondents indicating interest in Google Plus, the results show it ranking higher than other products and trends, including Apple’s iCloud (22%), NFC (18%), iOS 5’s Twitter integration (14%), Android patent issues (13%), Amazon’s forthcoming Android tablet (6%) and the HP TouchPad (2%).

In addition to Google Plus’ impact on mobile growth and adoption, developers also said they believed Google Plus could catch up to Facebook in the long-term. Two-thirds said that the new social network would be an asset for Google in gaining mindshare among consumers and developers alike in addressing both the Facebook challenge and the Twitter/iOS 5 integration.

Why Mobile Developers are Excited About Google Plus

The reason developers feel this way has largely to do with Google’s ability to leverage Google Plus across a portfolio of products, including Search, Maps, YouTube and more, all of which also have a mobile presence.

Other popular responses to the “why Google Plus” question included positive sentiments about the innovations Google Plus delivered (e.g., Sparks, Hangouts and Circles), its overall user experience, and Google’s ability to bake in Google Plus deeply into its Android operating system.

That last item is an especially notable key advantage over Facebook, which does not yet have a deeply integrated Facebook experience on any mobile platform in particular, although there are some phones, like the HTC ChaCha (aka the HTC Status on AT&T), HTC Salsa and INQ’s Cloud Touch, which offer a Facebook-focused experience.

But for developers, there’s an understanding that what Google Plus may soon offer is not just another way to integrate “social” into their mobile applications, but an ability to map a user’s particular “interest graph” into their apps, as well. For example, if a user has a Google Plus Circle of friends who like to discuss movies, explains Schwarshoff, an app like Flixster could take advantage of that for a more personalized and customized social experience. Similarly, a photo-sharing application could allow you to share some photos with just a Circle of family or friends, instead of the general public or a wider network of “followers.”

For Now, Facebook Still Wins

All that being said, developers aren’t jumping to use Google Plus within their applications immediately. For one thing, Google does not yet offer developer tools for Google Plus (i.e., a Google Plus API – application programming interface) so it’s not even a possibility at this time.

However, although Facebook is the API leader over the next 12-18 months, according to the survey, Google Plus and Twitter are tied for second place in terms of future API usage.

Of course, it should be noted that what any survey respondent says they will do and what they actually end up doing can sometimes be very different things. But Appcelerator’s surveys in the past have usually been on target when it comes to spotting trends.

And lest you think that Appcelerator’s core audience is biased towards Android developers somehow, you’ll be interested to know that, in fact, the opposite is true. iOS apps make up 75% of Appcelerator’s 25,000+ mobile applications. The apps are Web developers primarily, not those coding in Java or Objective C. Web developers are those who are most focused on building cross-platform applications, which makes this group’s thoughts on Google Plus most interesting indeed.

It looks like Google Plus will soon see itself integrated into iPhones and Androids alike through mobile applications, even though Apple has anointed Twitter as its social network of choice.

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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