Google’s New Open Source Site Will Focus on ‘How’

Google Open Source
Google Open Source

When you think ‘open source,’ you probably think ‘GitHub.’ Google is hoping to change that, at least for its own projects. There’s a new home for Google’s open-source efforts, and it’s a lot easier and more friendly than your typical repository.

The new-look Open Source website is re-tooled to showcase various projects happening within Google, while also taking things a step further. Documentation is nicer to read in the new format, but Google says it additionally wanted to tell the story of “how” it approaches open-source projects.

With over 2,000 projects, you’re not going to learn the ins and outs of everything Google does. The company admits it throws spaghetti at walls, writing: “One of the tenets of our philosophy towards releasing open source code is that ‘more is better.’ We don’t know which projects will find an audience, so we help teams release code whenever possible. As a result, we have released thousands of projects under open source licenses.”

Individual project pages now provide an overview as well as an explainer on how Google uses the tool internally. The main projects page also has a search feature, in addition to a drop-down menu listing several categories, just in case you know what you need a project for, but may not have a specific bit of software in mind.

Google Open Source Projects GIF

A floating, morphing network takes the place of a static list of projects throughout the site, which can get a bit tedious to navigate. It’s a nice visual if you’re trying to find something new to implement or work on, but will leave power users visiting GitHub, where projects will still be hosted.

Beyond its various projects, Google Open Source also shines a light on the communities Google supports, Summer of Code and Code-In, and links to its various affiliations related to open source. If you need more info on the Apache Foundation, which is the licensing body Google shields most of its projects under, this provides an easy way to find it.

It’s a fresh coat of paint on an otherwise dull forum, so Google’s efforts should be applauded. This also comes well ahead of I/O, its annual developer’s conference, so we’re left to wonder if it’s clearing a path for bigger news this Spring.