Shared publicly  - 
Many of you wanted to know what types of apps could use the first version of the Google+ API.

G+me v7 introduces augmented hovercards with functionality that must be integrated into Google+ some day.

1. First, watch the screencast: Using the Google+ API for augmented hovercards - G+me v7 (make sure to select the HD resolution)

2. Then, install the beta:

3. Re-share, of course :)

4. Finally, if you want technical details, come back here to read my notes about the experience with the API.

Limitations of the first release of the API

Right now, the API only gives developers a read-only view of users' profile information and posts (a.k.a. "activities") -- and only the public posts. Yeah, there isn't much you can do with that... except if you use it to enhance the Google+ UI.

Types of Applications

These are initial types of applications that can do useful things so far:
1) A separate web site that queries the API about Google+ users. Examples:
- +Mohamed Mansour et al's Stream+
- +Gerwin Sturm 's
2) Plugin for your blog to display your Google+ posts. Example:
- +Will Norris's WordPress plugin
3) Extension for Google+ that augments the UI, as examplified by G+me.

The advantage of using the API for extension developers is the ability to enhance the default Google+ UI with features not yet available. You can't be a power user without power tools, right? Users can benefit immediately and without navigating to another site.

G+me Augmented Hovercards

In fact, G+me adds augmented hovercards that are designed so that users can get information without having to navigate to another page. With these premium hovercards, you don't need to visit users' profiles in order to get the gist of what they post about -- i.e., what they're about. So you don't lose your spot and the interface is quicker to use.

Not only that, but you get information that Google+ doesn't give you today: stats, ranked posts, word clouds. You can make better decisions about who's worth circling back and who's too noisy. Processing notifications is super fast.

JavaScript library

Note that Google+ didn't release a library for JavaScript, unlike for all the other popular languages. If you're not using OAuth2 yet, you don't need one. As you know, JSON is native to JavaScript and making requests with jQuery is just a few lines, after which you have a plain old JS object to extract data from.

For example,
$.getJSON('' + userid + '/activities/public?maxResults=' + maxResults + '&key=' + plusApiDevKey).then(callback, errback);

Experience with the API

The API is very straightforward. Just some surprises.

We get occasional 503 errors from the backend. These seem to happen when querying for certain high-profile users, e.g. +Robert Scoble, +Felicia Day, +Wil Wheaton

Also, no "originalContent" field is returned for any items. Bug filed.

And then, there's still the "pagination bug" that affects us even without using the API: you can only see about 250 public posts for each user (

Quota limits

By default, applications are limited to 1000 queries per day. There's also a per-user limit that can be additionally configured. Unfortunately, the web site about the API is not entirely clear about how this applies to extensions that are running on a user's machine with their own IP address. If the app uses the API key, but each user has her own IP address, it makes sense to me that the only limit should be the number of requests per second per IP address. (After all, Google can directly verify that users benefit proportionally to usage.) But it seems that the 1000 queries per day figure includes the requests of all users of the extensions, which of course won't work long-term. Can someone clarify this?

Authentication for extensions

I don't need to use OAuth2 yet, but some day I may have to. But for extensions which run from within the Google+ pages, it seems silly to use OAuth2 since the user is already logged into Google+ and the user has already given the extension permissions to run. Why pop up another window to the user and ask them to authorize the app? I would suggest that Google+ put out a token equivalent to an OAuth2 token inside the DOM so that extensions can be immediately authorized without the extraneous popup (and development complexity).

What now

Anyway, I just took the time out to develop this so that every user of Google+ could immediately benefit from the new Google+ API.

But I should return to my work on the extension SDK that'll make extensions resilient to layout changes due to compilation by Google's Closure Templates.
G+me v7 offers you the first benefits of the Google+ API: powerful new hovercards that let you quickly see if someone is worth adding to your circles.
Jeremy Land's profile photoBigKola Targaryen (大可乐-坦格利安)'s profile photoFantomas X's profile photoClive Richards's profile photo
+++++ Way to go, +Huy Zing .... I'm not a programmer, but the stuff you've been doing since Day 1 has been great. Keep up the good work.
This is a really helpful feature. I look forward to testing it out!
Looks great. First thing is to check how uninteresting my posts might be. :-)
+Michael Stoll It's just a simple formula: (number of comments) + 2 * (number of +1s) + 3 * (number of reshares).
Oh crap, that was supposed to be secret
This is the best thing since the G+Me... :D Thanks again for making G+ even better! Should I now disable the beta? :-(
+Jaana Nyström You can keep using the beta. I wanna see what happens when we run out of quota for the day :)
I am not a programmer, but I feel your passion. Support you!
Sure, you would pick a scoring system that gives yourself an avg > 100 ;-)
Great new feature. Could you add About to the hovercard as well? I often find that useful.
+Huy Zing You continue to AMAZE!!! This is so useful, I think that Google MUST implement it!!! +1'd, Reshared!!
Amazing and creative! Thanks!
Nice work! I really like your concept of writing something to demonstrate the immediate usefulness of the API.

The way I read the API docs, the 1000-query limit sounded temporary, so hopefully we'll be free of it soon.
My dear clever people and especially +Bradley Horowitz :
Why cannot we +1 the G+ posts anymore, using the permalink and saving them to our +1 page in the profile for everyone to see? With comments and all!
Please bring this back, we love the possibility! I've been using it all the time, saving excellent posts for Goobies-to-be...
+Huy Zing for at least 2 days now I couldn't have +1:d posts using the permalink... :-( After the big Chrome update? EDIT: The update last FRI removed ALL my extensions from my smaller Samsung laptop I was using while travelling. The bigger Acer I have at home is still ok. Weird.
wow, this extensions looks really good. To answer your question about quota, the 1000 qpd is tied to the developer key, so it would sum from everyone using the extensions. We're starting out relatively low while we get a sense for what kinds of applications people are building, but feel free to request more from within the APIs Console:
5* ! => .. added already my API key ;-)
+Huy Zing I will copy your "top" secret formula to all my current/future API projects! :) Good work.
Very useful! Look forward to your development and evolution!
Very nice use of the API, but aren't you're users going to cap out the number of queries you're allowed?
LOVE IT! still, it would be perfect if it also showed information from the "about" page of the profile, but I guess that's the API's fault :)
Thanks Huy, enjoy your efforts with G+me and psyched about the hovercards in beta thanks to my friend +Nate Berry 's reminder.

I'm curious about where you'd like to take your extension work in the future. Are you hoping the G+ team learns from your experiments or do you have more business like plans as a dedicated interface which is used for power users/business analytics?
overwhelming! hyperdimensional stream.congratulation.
I love it. It is really helpful.

I have noticed when a post has video showing, when I click on the play arrow, the space goes blank. I have to click on the description link to go to YouTube for it to play. This didn't happen before I installed the beta, and I don't think I've changed anything else.

Thanks for all your hard work!
+Huy Zing something is broken in v7.
on v6 i used to press 'u' and all comments would be shown.
now only the last ones that are already shown, will show when i collapse and move to that post
+Huy Zing its wonderful! and so useful (some feedback: have you noticed that the cloud-function and ranking works only with public posts?)
Fantastic, +Huy Zing! This will make browsing for new people to circle vastly easier. Thank you.
wow. Posts per day and word-cloud will be very useful for curating my list.
+Huy Zing trying G+me for Google Plus™ v7.0.1 (BETA) - Version: 7.0.1 - nicely speeds searching for new encircleable folk. Word cloud and rating and posts per day all very helpful.

One UX request, if it could show NO PUBLIC POSTS and dis-color the button immediaely without having to mouse it, it would speed me up even faster. People with no public posts for cloud-charting are instantly less interesting.

Could/Can this panel see 'extended circle' messages too and rate/cloud-chart them.
+Huy Zing The HOW TO should include to re-enter your prefered settings in Beta's Options, since it doesn't inherit. Beta 7 looks a lot better when I set my options my way. :-)
+Mark Essel Good question. I don't know yet if I have plans. I'm just exercise my creative and coding skills right now.
+Helaine Head Can you do more testing of the video problem? I haven't run into this yet. Let me know if you still see this.
+Fernando Miguel I dont' remember the old behavior. So if you use 'i' and 'u', it used to automatically expand all the comments?
+Alan Sundberg +Bill Ricker Right now, the API is limited to public posts only. We dont' have access to the limited or extended circles, unfortunately. That will change in the future, but that's outside my control.
As for knowing whether a user has posts before hoving over the "Public Posts", the problem is that costs another request to the server. I'm not sure if it's worth it. The usage of the API is limited by quota. Plus it slows down the UI a bit to make requests as soon as the hovercard opens up.
+Cory Lu Lu Haven't run into the limits yet and my console says that I only got 1 request. Either G+ turned off the quotas for some reason or it's buggy. Maybe +Chris Chabot or +Ade Oshineye can clarify.
As for the future, I wrote in my post that I will have to move to OAuth2 unless the G+ Platform implement something easier for extensions, as I suggested in my post.
So +Huy Zing, are you already having problems with API request limit? I think I know a way to reduce the requests, but still wouldn't totally solve the problem
+Fernando Miguel Are you sure you're not mistaken? I don't remember this behavior, and I checked the code and I don't see a sign of it. Also, I re-enabled 6.0.3 and hitting u/i doesn't automatically expand comments. I still have to hit c
I'll get back to v6 and see if it works as before. It did on 3 diff machines.
Maybe another addon? But only g+me changed... 
A little late to the party, but just installed the beta and I'm thrilled! Not just with what it does, but the potential for what can be done with the API. Pretty fantastic job you've done, Huy!
and v7 doesnt!
what ever it is, it's between 6 and 7 :\

I hope what I'm saying.... while moving from one thread to another, the comments will expand, instead of just showing "8 more comments" and the last two open
+Huy Zing so you have no idea what is it? isnt it your code?
i only have G+me and replies addons ... and they are all the same across 4 machines, 2 win 2 linux, with stable and dev chrome/chromium
+Fernando Miguel Ok I think I got it. Yes you were right -- that was the old behavior. But it was unintended. I never meant to unfold comments using u/i. That behavior was a result of some other bug, which I corrected in 7.x . It's funny that you started counting on behavior that resulted from a bug :)
So I guess now, the question is what to do. Some people may prefer the new behavior as they can see the last 2 comments and then hit shift-C to expand them. What do you think? Maybe I should make it an option.
+Fernando Miguel Haha great post. I guess I will make it default behavior until a user complains that they don't want comments auto-expanded :)
+Fernando Miguel Interestingly, I never noticed because this "bug" only appears in expanded mode. So it wasn't even consistent.
+Huy Zing you remember me asking in v4 for v5 to have an option to expand everything (comments, posts, etc)?
I assumed this was a concession :)
found yet another bug.
I think I saw it a couple of times on v6 but i kept hitting it yesterday on my laptop with v7.

sometimes if I press 'O' to collapse a post, some of the following 'u' will return to that same post. it tends to happen more on page break posts, but it's not only on those.

I got one of those cases just around... till i reload the page.

also, it doesnt happen on all 'O' posts :....
+Fernando Miguel Oh, ok I will have to check that. Sorry you run into all the bugs. I just don't use keyboard and expanded mode enough...
+Huy Zing np prob at all.
that's why you call it beta and why we test them
I love that... could do this for many years (_hint hint_)
for some reason bugs just come out when ever i'm trying something. it's a nature law or something. or just murphy :P
+Marcin Gorycki Even though I had promised a FF version for a while, I realized that (a) I have a lot of work to do in features and the extension SDK and (b) the more code I write, the more my dev/testing depends on the features and CSS behavior of Chrome -- so porting would take a long time.
At this point, I can no longer promise to do a FF version soon, unfortunately. I guess I favor working on new features more.
Also, I love Chrome -- they're putting out feature after feature. I'm pretty sure FF will lose the battle over time.
+Stb Hernandez The API doesn't give that functionality (yet).

Apps won't be breaking?
+Stb Hernandez That's unrelated. Google is offering no help on that problem. You'll know that extensions won't break once my SDK is released. Right now, if G+me breaks, it should only take 10 minutes to fix. Of course, I'm trying to get to 0 minutes :)
Bug: The hovercard incorrectly returns "no posts" on older versions of Chrome. You may want to put in another browser version check.
+Huy Zing re public-only and extra API call to check if any public, that is as expected, but figured I'd ask, and give you real use-case. Good to hear they intend to allow showing visible circles later. If you can weigh in on them to give you boolean HAS_PUBLIC_POSTS in the basic profile call, disabling thee useless PUBLIC POSTS button is good user experience, and will save them useless incoming API calls. Love it. Unless the CSS breaks 7.0.1, I may stay with beta stream until mainstream G+me is 7+.
+Bill Ricker I appreciate the feedback. I don't do a basic profile call yet. Right now, it's a bit annoying because I'm not sure how much quota they will give us, so it's hard to decide how many requests to optimize for. That's why I hesitate to take v7 out of beta until we know.
I have 14.0.835.163 (not the latest) and it works fine. My wife had an older version (dunno which one) and it didn't work. She updated to 14.0.835.186 and it works fine now.
+Huy Zing the data "people in common" would be perfect if I could see, in the Hovercard, the icons of the "people in common" notjust a selection of my friends in general... ;-)
+Jacopo GIOLA Doesn't Google+ already do that: show the icons of the people in common?
+Huy Zing yep, but with some mistakes... and I thought it was your v7. Sorry ;-)
+Huy Zing Just tried to hover over +Will Knight and get JSON back for the Recent & Top sections. Cloud displays nothing. No errors appear in console during the process.
+Jaana Nyström Thanks for the link. Very useful diagram. Unless there's source code out there for me, I don't know if I have time to implement something this fancy.
+Gabriel Matus Ah yeah, I think this won't work in Chrome 12, but it will work in Chrome 13. Thanks for reminding me.
+Huy Zing Never mind, it's a fun tool and might give you some ideas for the future.
+Huy Zing I noticed something this morning that you are probably aware of but in case you're not here's what I found.

I was in Gmail and saw that I had some Google+ notifications so clicked the red counter in the top bar to pull down the notifications. Some were new circle adds so I hovered over the names to display the hovercard, expecting to be able to see post info but it wasn't there. Clearly though the notification bar appears identical and probably is across the applications there is something that prevents your hovercard extension from working when the hovercard source does not actually come from the Google+ site.

I hope this info will be useful.
+Steve Crane Yeah the extension doesn't run on any pages other than In order to be able to do that, I'd have to increase permission to *, which I will probably do, but maybe users will complain.
Perhaps you could make it an option so users have control of whether they want to allow that or not.
+Steve Crane The "option", I think, would have to be 2 different extensions (or 3; regular, kinda paranoid and more paranoid).
+Steve Crane Chip is right, the only way is to have an extension with different permissions. Since I already have a paranoid edition, I wouldn't need another version. But another concern is performance. I wouldn't want to load up a lot of code every time someone creates a tab to do a web search, for example. I'd have to think of how to optimize the code just for this use case and see if it's even worth it.
Hardly worth the bother. At least you have the explanation of why it doesn't work on the other sites. Anyone that sees it as a feature they can't live without, has bigger problems. :-)
My dear +Huy Zing :
Thank you for making such a wonderful tool to use! 25 new people sharing content with me? (Top of the stream) No problem, just hover over the pics and check their cloud / posts. Wonderful and time saving!
+Leo G I'm not sure I understand the problem. You're probably misattributing this to G+me, when it's most certainly a Google+ problem.
+Leo G Yeah these coincidences often happen because you have to reload the page after you disable G+me. And when you reload, you often solve your Google+ problem or you hit a different server.
Chan Li
+Huy Zing it's really awesome , i come to comment just for tell you that , and i have an ideal , can you make the comment bar invisible ,only appear when i need it ? i mean , make it simple & powerful ,thanks
Yeah that's the plan
+lennon li I'm responding to your problem in the other thread. Can you figure out when the hovercards don't show up? Or is it random?
Chan Li
+Huy Zing yeah ,it seems like random , i wonder if only me have the problem ,i'll tell you more when i get more info
+lennon li I also get the problem occasionally, but I haven't found the pattern because it's rare.
Is possible to love software? I love the hovercard.
I'm having the same problem. m, shift-m, and clicking the grayed number to mute have all stopped working for me in the last couple of days -- in both 6.0.3 and 7.0.1.
+Janet Parke +Huy Zing Same issue here Janet.. Something has changed and now I'm missing that "mute" feature.. (Using 7.0.1 on Chrome). But while "mute" seems to have stopped, the other features including "hover card" are still working well for me.
+Huy Zing Thanks for this!
- Google+Tweaks seem to go nuts with this extension installed. I have had to disable that extension.
- Also when I check the collapse all except the first, all are collapsed.
- Photozoom extension no longer works either.
I can't get the hovercard to show the public posts/cloud, etc. I download and installed v7. is there a button or setting I'm missing?
Yup, Google seems to have made changes that disable the hovercard.
+Huy Zing g+me v7 beta (hover cards) haven't been working for me for a couple of weeks now. Any fix for this coming up? It's definitely the most useful G+ Chrome extension around. Anyone running Chrome using stable or beta channel that get G+me beta working so the reason it's not working might be that I'm running dev channel?
Not, not working here either +Björn Lindahl . We have had no response from +Huy Zing for some time now, so perhaps he has turned to other things? It seems that the changes that Google makes throw all kinds of spanners into the works for these extension developers. Must be discouraging. Or maybe it is now in the full version?
Add a comment...