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Making API Terms of Service and Privacy Policy Easy to Read and Understand

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Making API Terms of Service and Privacy Policy Easy to Read and Understand

Typically, developers aren't malicious; they are just usually ignorant of the best practices that often exist in the platforms legalese we agree to, but seldom ever read.

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The NextWeb had a great story saying that Google has redesigned its developer policies with clearer language and visual examples. Normally, I don't just parrot what the tech blogosphere publishes, but it's an important enough API message that I think it warrants repeating. In my experience, API providers just emulate what they hear in the space and stories like this need amplification.

What Google did isn't rocket surgery. They just simplified the legalese around what they expect of developers. What better way to actually help ensure these best practices around the platform actual happen than by actually providing simple titles, summary description, images, and other relevant links on a developer policy page? In most scenarios, developers aren't malicious; they are just usually ignorant of the best practices that often exist in the platforms legalese we agree to, but seldom ever read.

My friend Tyler Singletary stated:

The organization here for policy is fun, mostly clear, and interactive. A company the size of Google distilling the deep TOS policy into such a user and developer friendly front end is pretty astounding.

I agree. Simple like this, when you operate at Google scale can be pretty hard, and is something I'd love to see standardized across Google offerings. 

I will be adding any of the elements from the simplified Google Play developer policy that are missing in my API terms of service, privacy, licensing, and branding research. I will also add the concept of having visuals for each area, or building block, and add the common theme of "keep it simple." This will help API providers remember that they actually want developers reading and understanding this stuff, not having it buried in the legalese that nobody will give a sh*t about.

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Topics:
api ,integration ,privacy policy ,terms of service

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