Google plans worldwide developer day

Google hopes to woo more developers to its web services software platform with a 27-hour "Developer Day" on May 31.


Google hopes to woo more developers to its web services software platform with a 27-hour "Developer Day" on May 31.

To spark more interest in its development tools and application programming interfaces (APIs), the company invited developers to attend workshops at Google offices in 10 countries. Topics to be covered will include developing location-based services with Google Maps, Google Earth, and SketchUp; creating mash-ups with asynchronous JavaScript and Extensible Markup Language (AJAX) and Google Gadgets, and developing with the Google Web Toolkit.

The workshops will take place at its headquarters in California and at other offices in São Paulo, Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney, Moscow, London, Madrid, Paris, and Hamburg, Germany. The Mountain View event will be carried live via webcast, with the other events shown via a dedicated channel on Google's YouTube video site.

In addition to new developers, Google could also be searching for new revenue streams.

Most of the company's revenue comes from internet advertising, and while that market is still growing, the growth is slowing, according to figures published over the last year by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Revenue for the first quarter of 2006 totalled $3.9m (£1.8m), up 38% from the same period in 2005. But by the fourth quarter, the year-on-year growth rate had slowed to 32%, the IAB said. The IAB will publish its figures for the first quarter of 2007 later this month.

"Google is keen to spread its revenue base and reduce dependence on advertising, and clearly these developer days are one way of working towards that," said Kate Worlock, director and lead analyst at Outsell, a company that monitors Google's activities.

The event is also an opportunity for Google to find out from developers where it can concentrate limited support resources to greatest effect.

"Google has spread itself rather thin recently, and this has caused problems for companies trying to work with it," Worlock said.

Presenters at the events will include, at the Beijing office, Guido Van Rossum, creator of the Python programming language; in London, Chris DiBona, manager of Google's open source programs, and at the Mountain View headquarters the co-creators of the Google Web Toolkit, Bruce Johnson and Joel Webber.

The first event will begin in Sydney at 9 a.m. local time on May 31, and the last will finish in Mountain View at 7 p.m. Pacific Time. Google expects to accommodate about 500 developers in Mountain View, and a further 2,000 in total at the other events worldwide, said Google spokesman Anthony House said.

Developers can register to attend at the Google Developer Day web site.

(James Niccolai, in Paris, contributed to this report.)

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