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For the largest tech companies in the world, it's all about developers, developers, developers.
Apple has them in spades, Microsoft wants them and Facebook can thank them for helping it build one of the richest consumer internet companies ever in less than a decade.
Like Apple, Microsoft and Facebook, Google loves developers too. The world's largest search engine engages developers on multiple product fronts, from Android to Google Maps.
But attracting developers and keeping them happy are two very different things. Apple and its developers, for instance, often have a love-hate relationship thanks to the company's policies, which can be opaque.
Beyond issues related to money and business, one of the biggest challenges in keeping developers on side is supporting them. At the end of the day, developers want clean, well-documented APIs and access to reasonable levels of support. With so many platforms on which to develop, anything less can create long-term ecosystem risk.
Perhaps recognizing that, Google yesterday announced Google Developers Live, a new destination for developers that the search engine hopes will make it easier for developers to stay connected and get the support they need. The Google Developers Blog explained:
Google Developers Live allows us to bring you the excitement of Google I/O year-round, beginning today with the release of starter-level sessions on everything from Android to YouTube, to help prepare you for the more advanced content that will be presented next week. And, if you have any questions after watching these tutorials, we've set up Office Hours with each of our presenters on Google Developers Live so you can ask them directly.
Google I/O, of course, is Google's annual developer event, something which offers a potentially valuable experience for attendees but is not accessible to the vast majority of developers in Google's ecosystem. In trying to replicate the event experience online on an ongoing basis, Google is trying to make sure that every developer, regardless of location and means, can get access to the type of information and assistance Google I/O attendees receive.
It's a smart move, and one that may increasingly be a necessity. Apple, for instance, has just released videos of developer sessions held at the most recent WWDC, and Microsoft has been holding developer events in the run-up to the release of Windows 8. So it's not hard to imagine a day in the not-too-distant future when developers will expect nothing less, giving companies large and small a good reason to invest in creating better experiences for the developers they hope will build the next big things on their platforms.