This week on their official blog, Android developers announced the introduction of the People API, which will seek to replace the current Contacts API. This new system, which drops the GData protocol in favor of some new ones that should make it easier for users to grant and restrict access to their personal information on an individual or categorical basis.

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Laurence Moroney, Developer Advocate for Android, sums it up like this:

For example, if your user has contacts in her private contact list, a call to the API (if she provides consent to do so) will retrieve a list containing the contacts merged with any linked profiles. If the user grants the relevant scopes, the results are returned 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.

This basically streamlines the gathering of contact data, trimming the previous method that required tapping two different APIs, Google+ and Contacts. People API also exposes new data that apps weren’t able to access before, such as phone numbers, e-mail addresses, physical addresses, and even birthdays. The user, of course, will have to have given permission for this information to be accessed.

Google hopes that Android developers will be eager to take advantage of the new capabilities this API offers and be inspired to come up with new and creative uses for it. If you’d like to read more about this new release, check out the blog post here. In the meantime, what are your thoughts regarding this new API? A long-awaited boon to the dev community, or just business as usual? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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