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Google Unveils New Home for Open Source

March 31, 2017


On the back of Google’s successful open-source projects such as Kubernetes and TensorFlow, it’s no surprise to hear that the Mountain View, California-based company is taking another step into open source.

This time, it’s launching an all-new website dedicated to showcasing all of Google’s open-source projects in one handy URL. Google’s Open Source site is based on the philosophy that everyone benefits from open source, and developers now have another repository to access if they want to collaborate on the creation of new technology.

The projects’ code will still exist on Google’s own self-hosted git service as well as GitHub, yet this new site is going to operate as a central directory for them. Though showing off Google’s projects is the main point of the new site, it’s not its only purpose. Google says it’s also going to use it as a way to give developers a behind-the-scenes look at how the company operates its open-source projects.

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According to the announcement on Google’s official Open Source Blog, the company’s open-source protocols are based on many years of experience and lessons its teams have learned along the way. However, the company cautions that developers shouldn’t read their documents as a definitive “how-to” guide, seeing as how there are multiple ways to do open source.

Conceding that its way may not be the way for everyone, the company nonetheless is letting outsiders have a look at its open-source approaches.

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The new site currently features 2000 projects, and this list is by no means complete and will continue to grow.

Together with this new site going live comes word that Google is making public a collection of its documents concerning how it handles open source internally. The subjects in the documents cover a range of topics, everything from the particulars of Google’s release processes for its new projects and how to go about submitting patches to other projects, to the company’s policies on dealing with third-party open-source projects that it uses internally.

Google has a long history with utilizing open source for innovation. Think of this site as a way of Google returning the favor to the open-source community. Site visitors can expect to see released code that pushes the industry forward, gives insights into best practices, or is just fun to see.

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Google’s already had success with its recent open-source projects. The aforementioned Kubernetes and TensorFlow have grown to where they each have big ecosystems around them, so these new documents are definitely worth a glance, from a developer’s standpoint. If nothing else, checking out the new open-source site will be helpful for other companies that are thinking of releasing their internal code as open source.

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