It became standard procedure in recent years for Internet companies to launch early test versions of their newest services with hooks for external developers, but Google is bucking that trend with its Google+ social network.
Currently, external developers don't have any Google+ APIs (application programming interfaces) or tools to tinker with, as the company tests the service with a limited set of users.
For example, in 2009, Google launched its now-closed Wave communication and collaboration application first to developers during the company's I/O conference.
Built on Google Web Toolkit using HTML 5, Wave came with a set of APIs (application programming interfaces) so that developers could right out of the gate extend its functionality and integrate it with other Web services.
Not so with Google+. However, when asked about this issue, a Google spokeswoman said that the company intends to loop developers into Google+ eventually.
"We definitely plan to involve developers and publishers in the Google+ project, but we don't have specific details to share just yet. Please stay tuned," she said via e-mail.
The spokeswoman declined to say specifically if Google+ will be compatible with the company's OpenSocial set of common APIs for social networking applications.
When Google does open Google+ to developers, the tools and policies will have to reflect the social networking site's design emphasis on privacy and on making it easy for users to understand how and with whom they are sharing content.
That could prove tricky, considering the cat-and-mouse game that Internet companies often engage in with rogue external developers who try to bend the rules of their application platforms for financial gain or for malicious purposes, like compromising user data.