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Google launched a Realtime API for the Google Drive Platform today. It is the API version of the same functionality available on Google Drive, that allows for you and other collaborators to type, edit, annote and chat with each other within a Google Doc.

To use the Google Drive Realtime API you add the Google Realtime Javascript library, then you can give any local object on an HTML page realtime behavior. The JavaScript library and Realtime API handle network communication, storage, presence, conflict resolution and sync changes using what they call a CollaborativeString object.

The Realtime API isn’t just for documents, it can be used for productivity apps, games, entertainment and much more. The only limitation is a developers imagination within their own applications.

Google gives a quick start, documentation and other resources to get you going, and they provide a pretty cool realtime playground for building stuff with the API in a hands-on, interactive environment.

There are other players in the realtime space already, like Firebase and Pusher. Google’s entry into the arena is a signal that there is developer demand for realtime tools and provides validation for the other startups. I’ll play with Google Drive Realtime API some more and talk with the folks at Pusher and Firebase and see what their thoughts are and how it compares.




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