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You've missed the whole point of the article.
"Facebook is successful because they built an entire constellation of products by allowing other people to do the work. So Facebook is different for everyone. Some people spend all their time on Mafia Wars. Some spend all their time on Farmville. There are hundreds or maybe thousands of different high-quality time sinks available, so there’s something there for everyone.
"Our Google+ team took a look at the aftermarket and said: “Gosh, it looks like we need some games. Let’s go contract someone to, um, write some games for us.” Do you begin to see how incredibly wrong that thinking is now?"
How can Google get third parties to do all the work of building out Google+ (and the Google platform in general) if all these tools are only accessible internally? It's all about the Dogfood Principle ("You don’t eat People Food and give your developers Dog Food."), and Google gets this one 180 degrees wrong.
Google gets this one so completely wrong that with respect to platforms, it might be best to call Google "Defective by Design." They built this amazing wonderland of brilliant tools and back end design and communication pathways. But they didn't enforce a service-oriented architecture, so it's hard for one part of the company to build on the work of another part of the company, and when they do, they probably just go to the data out there on the base platform. And they hired brilliant people and built a system for brilliant Google people and didn't want to share that system with all the non-brilliant non-Google people out in the world at large because that system was their special thing that made them better than everyone else.
So flipping that around and trying to turn things into world-accessible platforms with open lines of communication to outside developers and consistent, documented public APIs will be so hard it will be like rethinking the whole company and how it works.
1 year, 7 months ago on Google Engineer: "Google+ is a Prime Example of Our Complete Failure to Understand Platforms"
No, it came from being a company that thrives off of data, and having this enormous amount of data locked away from search engines. Google wants to be able to use that data to improve your experience of the Internet.
Except that AppEngine is a modest offshoot that doesn't have much to do with Google as a whole. AWS started the same way, but Amazon also has APIs all over the place inside their core product -- you can display Amazon reviews on another website, or integrate Amazon product search results, product descriptions. You can use their payment systems, or even integrate their fulfulfillment expertise.
Google treats its crown jewels as a "special sauce" and keeps the best parts hidden behind the firewall, then periodically shoots off little platforms that don't relate to these best parts. This is probably endemic to their ad-driven revenue model: the ads themselves don't add value for the end user, so if you give people the ability to get all their best data without all the ads welded on, you win and the user wins, but Google loses.