Google will be closing its developer support forums to "developer issues," Google Employee HeidiLC announced yesterday. Instead of airing problems in the open, where things can become ... untidy, Google would like developers to contact them directly, so the matter can be addressed one-on-one with greater efficiency.
Indeed, an unusual move for a platform both touted for its openness and already sporting a black eye for leaving handset manufacturer partners high-and-dry on the patent front — an issue, granted, it's working to alleviate with its Motorola acquisition (CP: Google-Motorola: Sorting out the winners and losers).
The forum won't be closed all together, to be clear. As of Aug. 22, it is dedicated, said HeidiLC, to "user issues and discussion." Moving forward, she continued, "threads regarding developer-facing issues will be closed, and we ask that developers report Android Market issues here so we can address your concerns in a timely manner."
In addition to addressing individual concerns, Google says it will keep everyone in the know by maintaining the Developer Known Issues page with current information on widespread issues.
The forum has been described as being feast-or-famine, with some questions languishing unanswered while other topics draw in a riot of angry responses.
"What is Google responding to?" ReadWriteWeb asked in its reporting. "The developers not getting answers or the venom that can come from the community?"
A fear expressed by some developers commenting on a Reddit forum is that even when Google does respond, it's sometimes with a canned response.
"The forums were basically the only place you could go to see if others were having the same problem as you and if Google had responded," wrote SeingYoshi. "I'd like to believe all of that changes now, but who really knows?"
What do you think? Is this a good move, borne of earnest intentions, or will only time — and the swiftness and true helpfulness of Google's responses — tell?