I have read and I accept the terms and conditions of your API

I have read and I accept the terms and conditions of your API
I have read and I accept the terms and conditions of your API


This is one of the biggest lies on the Internet, and it is justified (to some extent). The world of app development is no exception: the terms and conditions of the many services that are available to us online are made up of long and cumbersome legal texts published only in English (or mistranslated). Hardly any ordinary user can read them completely as to understand and accept them knowingly.

The contracts that developers accept in order to start using an API are no different. Consequently, the legal and the computer universes, using their own specific languages, very distant from common speech, usually collide when getting to the terms and conditions, doomed to be never understood.

But there is no reason to lose hope. If users are demanding simpler legal texts (even using, why not, emoticons), developers are also claiming some understandable terms and conditions facing the use of APIs, so that they can strictly comply with the rules; in short, that the way of communicating requirements is simplified. And Google seems to have heard their request. At least, it has taken steps so that application developers do not die in the attempt to understand what rules to follow.

In Mountain View they have redesigned their Developer Policy Center so that app developers can find, in a simple and intuitive way, all the information they need to know before publishing their application in Google’s popular Play Store.

In the renewed legal information platform, seven icons represent the main issues anyone should be aware of when wanting to launch content in the domains of the big G: Restricted Content; Intellectual Property, Deception and Spam; Privacy & Security; Monetization & Ads; Store Listing and Promotion; Families; Enforcement and Updates and other Resources.

Under each of these icons, accompanied by titles that already summarize the theme of each section, the essential question to which they responds is formulated. Thus, it is clear that in the “Restricted Content” section developers will find the requirements to respond to Google’s first question: “Does your app cross the line??”.

However, Google’s approach to developers is just a first step, necessary but insufficient. Simply go to the Developer Distribution Agreement to find, once again, a long legal text, full of definitions and headings, difficult to understand at first glance.

Similarly, and continuing with the legal texts that developers must accept in order to work in the Google ecosystem, the terms of service–to be accepted by those wishing to use the Google Maps API to create a tool–is another hard nut to crack: published only in English and with about twenty long sections, developers must be prepared for heavy reading before using Google Maps in their application.

But of course, not only Mountain View fails to offer simple legal texts as its API terms of use. The same applies to Apple and to the vast majority of platforms offering any tool. So while Google seems to be taking a step forward for the sake of user-friendly terms and conditions, the fact is that there is still a long way to go before developers have before their eyes a friendly, simple and interactive interface where the rules they must accept to use an API are clear.

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