Google App Engine: a new version and a preview of future plans

May 10, 2011

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By Greg D’Alesandre, Senior Product Manager, Google App Engine

Google App Engine, which provides the ability to develop and host applications on Google’s infrastructure, has grown tremendously since it launched in preview status in 2008. More than 100,000 developers use App Engine every month to deliver apps that dynamically scale with usage without the need to manage hardware or software. App Engine now hosts more than 200,000 active apps that serve over 1.5 billion site views daily.

Over the last three years, we’ve collected great feedback from our customers and now believe that the biggest thing we can do to help our customers is to graduate App Engine from preview status. When App Engine graduates from preview status, which we expect to do in the second half of this year, we’ll add additional enterprise-grade features that allow us to support many more business application scenarios. Graduation from preview status also indicates a longer term commitment by Google to the product and provides a deprecation policy whereby we will support prior versions of product APIs for a guaranteed amount of time, allowing applications written to prior API specifications to continue to function.

Today, we’re moving forward with our business focus with the release of App Engine 1.5.0 which includes Backends, improved Task Queues, a new experimental Go runtime, and more:
  • With Backends (for both Python and Java), App Engine can now support applications that require long running and high memory processes. This feature allows for new classes of applications such as report generation apps and custom search engines to be hosted on the platform.
  • The improvements to Task Queues allow for applications to control how tasks are executed and easily share the work using the new REST-based APIs. This API access expands App Engine’s compatibility with other on-premise and cloud services, furthering our commitment to an open development platform.
  • With 1.5.0 we are launching an experimental runtime for the Go Programming Language. Go is an open source, statically typed, compiled language with a dynamic and lightweight feel. It’s also an interesting new option for App Engine because Go apps will be compiled to native code, making Go a good choice for more CPU-intensive tasks. As of today, the App Engine SDK for Go is available for download, and we will soon enable deployment of Go apps into the App Engine infrastructure. If you’re interested in starting early, sign up to be first through the door when we open it up to early testers. If you’d like to learn more, read it about it on the Go Blog.
In addition, when we take App Engine out of preview in the second half of this year, we will provide a 99.95% uptime service level agreement, operational and developer support, offline billing, and a new Terms of Service agreement geared towards businesses. We will also introduce a new pricing structure for App Engine based on more transparent usage-based pricing.

We’re announcing these features and pricing changes in advance so that our customers have time to review them. Adding business features will help App Engine meet a broader set of needs and the new, more transparent pricing model will help customers better align their App Engine investment with their business goals. Learn more about these changes on the App Engine blog.

Finally, we are really excited to graduate from Preview and we want to let everyone know how much we appreciate the support, commitment, and feedback we have received. We look forward to working with you for years to come.

Greg D'Alesandre is now the Senior Product Manager for App Engine after coming back from riding the Google Wave in Sydney. And he's obsessed with chocolate, no, seriously, obsessed.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor