Google has recently announced the release of People API. Before this API it was required to make multiple calls to the Google+ API for user profiles and Contacts API for contacts. Now this new People API allows to retrieve data about an authenticated user’s connections from their contacts. Google states that this new People API uses the newest protocols and technologies and will eventually replace the Contacts API which uses the GData Protocol.
Let’s say the application needs to fetch the data about contacts of an authenticated user. Then application has to make a call to get the contacts from the contacts list of that user (if user has provided a consent to do so) then application will retrieve a list containing the contacts merged with any linked profiles. This even works to get the contacts from private contact list of user, if user has provided appropriate permissions for it.
To put it a little technically, if the user grants the relevant scopes, the API returns the result as a people.connections.list object. Each person object in this list will have a resourceName property, which can be used to get additional data about that person with a call to people.get. As the API is built on HTTP and JSON, it is possible for any standard HTTP client to send requests to it and parse the response. For those interested in more details the full documentation on people.connections.list method can be found here.
In addition to merging data from multiple sources and APIs into a single cohesive data source, this new People API also exposes additional data that was not possible to get before. This additional data includes private addresses, phone numbers, e-mails, and birthdays for a user who has given permission.
Along with the simplified access to existing data and these new features and additional data provided by this People API will surely help in making social part of the application a little better and user friendly.