Meet Google’s Evangelist Army

We all know that Google is huge, right? Like, a globe-spanning colossus, in fact. But every now and then we come across a tangible sign of just how broad the company is and how many different pies it has its fingers in. For example, take a look at this list of the company’s “developer advocates.” They’re the ones who work with third-party developers on applications and services that integrate with some of Google’s various business units. And there are more than 75 of them.

They are broken down into categories as well, including Ads and Commerce, Cloud, Geo, Google Apps, Mobile, Social and TV/Video — and a whole other category called “Other Google APIs.” The list includes some bona fide technology industry stars, too, including one-time Napster executive and former Microsoft evangelist Don Dodge, as well as Android advocate Tim Bray, the former director of web technologies at Sun Microsystems and co-developer of XML.

Having so many evangelists is a great example of what Google does well. Unlike a lot of other large technology companies, it provides public and open APIs for dozens of different parts of its business, from maps and search to images, Android and YouTube. These open interfaces allow developers to plug into the giant company’s databases and create incredible features and services using that content, and even some things that may not be all that useful but are still pretty amazing — like MapCrunch, which takes you to a random location somewhere in the world via Google’s Street View.

That said, of course, there is still a risk of spreading the company’s resources too thin. For every two or three developer advocates on that list, there is a different line of business that the company is either trying to expand or doing its best to support. Pretty soon, Google will need a VP of Evangelism (if it doesn’t already have one) to keep track of all its developer evangelists. Even a huge entity like Google, with a massive pool of more than $40 billion in cash and a market value of $200 billion, is potentially at risk of losing focus by trying to do too many things at once.

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Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user John O’Nolan