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May 29, 2008

Google App Engine, Open for Developers

Google announced that App Engine, the service that allows you to create web applications and host them on Google's servers, can be used without an invitation. Unfortunately, you need to verify your account by entering a code sent to your mobile phone.


The only programming language supported at the moment is Python. Google offers 500 MB of storage and enough bandwidth for 5 million pageviews per month for free, but in the future you'll be able to purchase more resources. Here are the expected prices, according to the App Engine Blog:

* $0.10 - $0.12 per CPU core-hour
* $0.15 - $0.18 per GB-month of storage
* $0.11 - $0.13 per GB outgoing bandwidth
* $0.09 - $0.11 per GB incoming bandwidth

For comparison, Amazon SimpleDB costs $0.14 per machine hour, $1.50 per GB-month of storage (8-10 times more than Google App Engine), $0.1 per GB incoming data transfer and $0.1-$0.17 per GB outgoing data transfer. Except for the storage cost, the pricing is somewhat similar to Amazon's offering, even if the services are quite different.

If you need ideas for an application, browse the gallery - you'll find a lot of simple apps for URL shortening, reading lists, unit conversion, time management or just for fun. You should also check Niall Kennedy's article about App Engine before reading the documentation.

"Google App Engine is a new and interesting solution for Python developers interested in adding features, not servers. Google spends hundreds of millions of dollars developing its custom infrastructure with 12-volt power supplies tapped into a hydro-electric dam next door and fat fiber pipes owned by local governments carrying requests and responses to their proper home. Google's physical infrastructure is vast array of highly optimized web machines, and we'll now be able to see how such infrastructure performs across more generic applications on App Engine," writes Niall.

{ Thank you, Tim. }

9 comments:

  1. it's all very nice, except for the sms thing, my phone can't handle sms (http://www.engadget.com/2005/03/07/israels-kosher-phone/)

    so they cuted me out of this, maybe they shouldn't assume everyone can get a sms and call me or send me a letter ;)

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  2. Amazon SimpleDB (not S3) costs $1.5/GB-month, 10x the cost of storage at Google (which offers just one kind of storage which is structured, unlike unstructured S3 vs structured SimpleDB).

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  3. > Anonymous said on May 29, 2008 4:53 PM PDT:

    Yeah, but Amazon EC2 + S3 is less sneaky and has less legal restrictions/rights than this:

    FROM http://code.google.com/appengine/terms.html
    | 8.1. Google claims no ownership or control over any Content or
    | Application. You retain copyright and any other rights you
    | already hold in the Content and/or Application, and you are
    | responsible for protecting those rights, as appropriate. By
    | submitting, posting or displaying the Content on or through the
    | Service you give Google a worldwide, royalty-free, and
    | non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate,
    | publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such
    | Content for the sole purpose of enabling Google to provide you
    | with the Service in accordance with its privacy policy.
    |
    | Furthermore, by creating an Application through use of
    | the Service, you give Google a worldwide, royalty-free, and
    | non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate,
    | publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such
    | Application for the sole purpose of enabling Google to provide you with the
    | Service in accordance with its privacy policy.
    |
    | 8.2. You agree that Google, in its sole discretion, may use your
    | trade names, trademarks, service marks, logos, domain names and
    | other distinctive brand features in presentations, marketing
    | materials, customer lists, financial reports and Web site
    | listings (including links to your website) for the purpose of
    | advertising or publicizing your use of the Service.

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  4. @Zeta:
    I think those terms are reasonable. Let me summarize them for you:

    1. You allow Google to do every thing that's necessary to provide you with the service ("for the sole purpose of enabling Google to provide you with the Service"). For example, you allow them to publish the application to your site or modify it to fit an OpenSocial container, if that feature will ever be added.

    2. You allow Google to list your application in a public gallery like http://appgallery.appspot.com or to include it as an example in a presentation or ad ("for the purpose of advertising or publicizing your use of the Service").

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  5. @Alex
    Thanks for replying to my comment.

    First of all, "for the purpose of advertising or publicizing your
    use of the Service" entails a lot more than you described in (2).
    It it were "for the purpose of advertising, or publicizing, your
    use of the Service", I would have been less insecure, but there
    aren't commas in the middle unfortunately. Also, notice that it's
    not really clear what they mean by "Web site listings" in (8.2),
    so that (8.2) at worst could mean that they can use any of your
    web materials for the sore purpose of "advertising" for their own
    benefit.

    Moreover, you left out a really important clause:

    | By submitting, posting or displaying the Content on or through
    | the Service you give Google a worldwide, royalty-free, and
    | non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate,
    | publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such
    | Content for the sole purpose of enabling Google to provide you
    | with the Service in accordance with its privacy policy.

    Now what does that mean exactly? Not many people knows the answer
    because their "privacy policy" is long and aoso contains vague
    expressions. That aside, what's their "privacy policy" got to do
    with reproduction, translation, or distribution of the
    submitter's Content?

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  6. I think the prices can not be compared directly because Google offers 500 MB of storage and enough bandwidth for 5 million pageviews per month for free.

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  7. deloware.com: Those free features will likely be going away later this year.

    Some weird fluke is not allowing me to signup using my Google Apps account. Is anyone else experiencing this problem? I get a "The page isn't redirecting properly" error when I try to sign in to appengine.google.com. :-(

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  8. @Tim:
    App Engine will always be free to get started. That was one of the design goals: allowing developers to create applications, test them and get some feedback. Once the application becomes popular and you decide it has some potential, you may want to invest some resources and pay for additional storage/CPU/bandwidth.

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  9. I can't believe that they REQUIRE you to give them a phone number AND they REQUIRE you to RECEIVE an SMS message. That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of.

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