After a crazy year end and new beginning, I wanted to give you an update on the Google Qualified Developer Program.

As you may be aware, we've been working on building recognition for the most talented developers of our most popular APIs. We initially began the program to identify developers who could create Gadget Ads for advertisers who understood the ads side of the business, but were not comfortable with the technology side. With the success of that program, many other Google API teams expressed an interest in a Qualified Developer Program. We launched the Google JavaScript Maps API qualification at Google I/O last year, and have been busy working on several others since then.

In November I traveled to Europe and was fortunate enough to meet many developers at the Google Developer Days in Prague and Moscow. One aspect of the Qualified Developer program that really resounded with folks was its community focus. Google has long held to the wisdom of the masses, and I knew when we began the program that no one person or even one company would be sufficient to evaluate developers by themselves. I'm happy to report that in the past few months Qualified Developer Proctors from the community have held sole responsibility in evaluating application submissions, evidence of community participation, and requests for professional references that are the cornerstone of the Qualified Developer certification process. With their help, we can accept people into the program much more quickly than before.

We've also had our fair share of Fast Track qualification candidates. This program was announced a few months ago, and has enabled several developers to be recognized on the basis of work already familiar to Google or their developer community. Through the Fast Track process we are able to pay close personal attention to recommended developers to ensure that they receive the recognition they deserve and become qualified as quickly as possible, generally within a week.

Just before the end of the year, we launched our new Developer Directory. While we will continue to recognize accomplished companies who choose to advertise in the Solutions Marketplace, we're very excited to be able to show off our Qualified Developers on this new website, which has also been updated to better convey the benefits of hiring a Qualified Developer.

Currently we are in the process of piloting certifications for several new APIs. We are building out certifications for KML, Google Earth Enterprise, and 3D in preparation for our first master certification, the Google Qualified Geo Web Developer. We're also working on certifications for the AJAX Search API, Enterprise Apps, and Android.

So if you haven't already, come over to Google Code and Get Qualified!