Google has launched a beta site service for open source software called Google Code Project Hosting available at http://code.google.com/hosting. Announced late last week at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention in Portland Oregon and sporting a tagline of "Release Early Release Often" Google Code provides space for developers and users to exchange open source software and collaboratively work on projects.
On its FAQ page Google describes the service as a site for "external developers interested in Googlerelated development. It's where we'll publish free source code and lists of our API services." Although the initial emphasis is on Googlerelated software other kinds of open source sharing are anticipated by that community.
The home page is typical strippeddown Google shielding a database that searches and stores registered users' software. The results page resembles a basic Google search results page. Google has said its search software will rank projects by activity and participants and that dormant projects will eventually be removed from its repository. Tools for browsing source code issue tracking and administering projects are available.
Any efforts to use the service for storing inappropriate materials such as MPs or pilfered passwords will be filtered and removed the company said.
Greg Stein a technical lead at Google has said that the company does not intend to compete with such oldline open source exchanges as SourceForge.net run by VA Software or Tigris.org. SourceForge alone said it has more than projects while Google's Project Hosting has begun with four.
"Going After Microsoft"
For its part SourceForge has said that it is in the midst of a major site overhaul to improve searching and other features and that Google's new service only validates the open source community. Google Code and SourceForge have said they are working to create a database of common project code names so as to avoid possible duplication and confusion.
Laura DiDio an analyst with Yankee Group said that this open source service helps Google as well as users.
"Google's going after Microsoft at every turn" she said noting that the more Google promotes open source the more it helps create alternatives to the software giant from Redmond.
"For the opensource user" she said "it has the potential to become very useful" while becoming yet another Google project that "helps their halo" of providing services to the community.
Google has been a strong supporter of open source software and attitude. For example it promotes the use of the Firefox browser uses MySQL inhouse and makes its APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) freely available so that "mashups"such as data overlaid onto Google Earth mapscan be generated.