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Google Previews App Engine

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the what's-not-to-like dept.

Google 167

An anonymous reader writes "Google is giving a handful of web programmers the opportunity to create and run their own Web applications on their servers. Today's launch of a preview release of Google App Engine signals a new era of collaboration with third-party software developers. 'The goal is to make it easy to get started with a new Web app, and then make it easy to scale when that app reaches the point where it's receiving significant traffic and has millions of users," said Google product manager, Paul McDonald in a blog post."

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New Acronym (3, Funny)

AccUser (191555) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999298)

GAPE - Google App Engine

Re:New Acronym (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22999862)

No, it's more like GAE...gay. 'The new Google is teh ghey.' Get it?

Re:New Acronym (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23000478)

GAPE, and the first thing i thought of upon seeing it was goatse... :\

Re:New Acronym (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23001098)

Google Open Application Terminal Serving Engine

Re:New Acronym (1)

supermegadope (990952) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001208)

Dont forget to upgrade to the Xtreme version --SMD

Uh, yeh right (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22999300)

Like I am going to take this security risk ? No way.

Re:Uh, yeh right (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22999462)

Statements implying inherit insecurities are useless. Some real information would be useful...if you really have any.

Looks good and free (for 500MB worth) (4, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999304)

It looks very similar to Amazon's EC2 [amazon.com] hosted server service. They even have a simplified database system much like EC2. That in itself is enough to scare a lot of people away due to the pain of future migration.

However, the free 500MB worth of storage is really attrative for anyone who wants to try a few things out online. I wish it supported more than Python, but they say they are working on it now. Getting a few more programming languages supported will make this much more flexible.

I'm signing up for a block. Who knows what I'll do with it. But at no cost, what do I really have to lose?

Re:Looks good and free (for 500MB worth) (3, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999366)

If it's anything like Photoshop Express, you have all the rights to your code to lose (even with their revised EULA). If it's anything like the rest of google's services, you'll have to accomodate text ads.

Re:Looks good and free (for 500MB worth) (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999768)

1) Wouldn't comparing to google docs make more sense?

2) It is not like other google services, they plan on charging people like google apps premiere, where adds are optional.

Re:Looks good and free (for 500MB worth) (5, Informative)

*weasel (174362) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000112)

6.3. Except as provided in Section 8, Google acknowledges and agrees that it obtains no right, title or interest from you (or your licensors) under these Terms in or to any Content or the Application that you create, submit, post, transmit or display on, or through, the Service, including any intellectual property rights which subsist in that Content and the Application (whether those rights happen to be registered or not, and wherever in the world those rights may exist). Unless you have agreed otherwise in writing with Google, you agree that you are responsible for protecting and enforcing those rights and that Google has no obligation to do so on your behalf.

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.

Terms of Service [google.com] and Program Policy [google.com] (afaics, just the usual hosting rules: no porn, gambling, piracy, spam, malware, hate speech, etc).

Also, adwords are pretty much 'Step 1' in trying to cover hosting costs for a fledgling webapp.

If all Google wants in return for free-ish hosting is something most people do anyway, I'd imagine most people won't blink.

If nothing else, I'd imagine many niche discussion boards will transition to GAPE in short order, once vBulletin is ported.

Re:Looks good and free (for 500MB worth) (3, Insightful)

hpoul (219387) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001034)


If nothing else, I'd imagine many niche discussion boards will transition to GAPE in short order, once vBulletin is ported.
hmm.. with that prediction i should probably start porting my django forum [sphene.net] to GAPE .. at least it is already django and python .. so i would "only" need to support the database backend ? great :)

Re:Looks good and free (for 500MB worth) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23001064)

AFAICT, Google Blogspot lets you run (1) no ads OR (2) ads from Google's competitors.

Andrew

Re:Looks good and free (for 500MB worth) (5, Informative)

Tyball (139432) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999368)

It looks very similar to Amazon's EC2 [amazon.com] hosted server service. They even have a simplified database system much like EC2. That in itself is enough to scare a lot of people away due to the pain of future migration.
It's actually nothing like EC2--EC2 is a virtualization platform. You run an entire machine image of your choice on Amazon's infrastructure, and there's no explicit persistent storage except through the Ec2 interface.

Google's offering is more like a web framework hosted on Google's servers. Much different.

Re:Looks good and free (for 500MB worth) (1)

klenwell (960296) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999666)

But at no cost, what do I really have to lose?

Well, if it's anything like some other Google sites, your entire site, if (after a couple years or so) they decide to change their terms of service:

http://lastgoogle.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

That said, I'm looking forward to trying this out. But I'm not planning to use it for anything I consider too important or can't keep mirrored on my own system. Be careful.

Re:Looks good and free (for 500MB worth) (2, Informative)

GXTi (635121) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999844)

It's not really like EC2 at all. EC2 gives you a big fat slice of CPU, RAM, and disk - it's like renting a server. A beefy one.

GAPE (adopting the acronym from AccUser) is just a glorified virtual host. Not that it's a bad thing; that might be exactly what you need. EC2 is really more about computing power than the ability to serve up some webpages.

Re:Looks good and free (for 500MB worth) (2, Informative)

pubjames (468013) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000028)

I don't think it is at all like EC2. This looks like it is going to be a complete application development environment for web apps. EC2 is just a way to deploy servers online for whatever you want.
 

Re:Looks good and free (for 500MB worth) (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000056)

I'm signing up for a block. Who knows what I'll do with it. But at no cost, what do I really have to lose?

All the available blocks are now taken in their pre-release test. Much like Apple's iPhone developer program, they're now putting folks on the waiting list but you can download the SDK in the meantime.

Re:Looks good and free (for 500MB worth) (1)

tarscher (1000260) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000208)

Amazons service is a database storage server. Google Apps Engine does much more than only storing data: its a hosting environment inside the Google infrastructure (with the attached benefits and limitations)

Re:Looks good and free (for 500MB worth) (1)

Kugrian (886993) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000878)

However, the free 500MB worth of storage is really attrative for anyone who wants to try a few things out online.


Maybe not today [appspot.com] .

App Engine Error

        Over Quota
        This Google App Engine application is temporarily over its serving quota. Please try again later.

wish (0)

soulfury (1229120) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999332)

I hope I can run PHP...

Obligatory (4, Insightful)

buruonbrails (1247370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999336)

I for one welcome our new Google Cloud Computing overlords!

Jokes aside, if done right, this thing can bring Google to the position of total control over a large part of the Internet, which is a bit scary, to say it mildly..

Re:Obligatory (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999832)

What will be interesting is to see how far Google will go to "not be evil" with this. Will they allow open source developers to reimplement all of their APIs and distribute them? How about if Amazon provides a compatibility layer to allow Google App Engine software to run on top of their offerings. That'll be the test to see how scary Google really is.

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23000460)

This is still a service that is ultimately backed by hardware, and google has a pretty good track record of managing all the hardware for a service like this in a reliable manner. Even if someone else wanted to rebuild the software, they would need a whole lot more to replicate a competitive service.

Re:Obligatory (2, Interesting)

42forty-two42 (532340) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002262)

They've actually released an open-source (Apache-2) reference implementation of the APIs - right there in the SDK. It's not a very /efficient/ implementation, but if anyone wants to hack on it to make it usable, it's right there.

Fuck Google (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22999352)

I like http://search.msn.com/ [msn.com] better.

Microsoft's [microsoft.com] Live technology far exceeds Google's offerings. I'm selling my GOOG for MSFT stock and BRK.A.

Sincerely,
Warren Buffet
God is Back

First off (3, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999404)

Implement your own GDrive - It shouldn't be to hard with 500MB of storage, user authentication, etc.

Re:First off (1)

Wiseman1024 (993899) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000110)

AND... a transactional filesystem :9

Why? (4, Insightful)

Chineseyes (691744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999434)

As a software developer and business owner why would I want to leave myself at the mercy of Google like this by being tied to their service?

Re:Why? (4, Interesting)

mobiGeek (201274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999566)

Because as a business owner you recognize the benefit of not having to invest in IT administration overhead?

Because as a business owner, you recognize that Google is investing in your business by seeding your startup costs?

Because as a software developer you recognize that leveraging the tools Google is offering (and will be adding to over time) will speed your time to delivery?

Re:Why? (4, Informative)

Chineseyes (691744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999750)

Because as a business owner you recognize the benefit of not having to invest in IT administration overhead?
So let me get this straight.. I leave myself at the mercy of google in order to save the cost of IT administration? That doesn't sound like a good business decision.

Because as a business owner, you recognize that Google is investing in your business by seeding your startup costs?
Startup costs? You can't be serious, both hardware and bandwidth are dirt cheap, in college (2000) between my four friends and I, we were able to start my first business using pocket money we earned from odd jobs. This is a VERY weak arguement.

Because as a software developer you recognize that leveraging the tools Google is offering (and will be adding to over time) will speed your time to delivery? I'd love an explanation on how this would speed up my time to delivery? I took a look at the video and read the article and it does nothing that I can't already do myself to speed up time to delivery other than have hardware resources readily available. But once again I leave myself at the mercy of Google for access hardware and bandwidth. Thanks but no thanks.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000186)

I leave myself at the mercy of google in order to save the cost of IT administration? That doesn't sound like a good business decision.

It doesn't? So you don't use any web hosting services then, you host everything yourself? But wait, then you are at the mercy of your ISP. So do you have redundant connections? But wait, you're still hosting everything in one place, so you are at the mercy of floods, earthquakes, power outages, etc. So do you have geographically separated offices, with employees at both locations to look after everything?

Yes, there's something to be said for independence. But hosting providers, especially large international ones like Google, offer a lot that would be prohibitively expensive for you to do yourself.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

Chineseyes (691744) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000292)

That is a ridiculous argument you will always be at the mercy of something or someone as a business. The key is to avoid it when possible, I deal with enough middle men as it is. Why would any business owner want ANOTHER middle man that doesn't provide something that has significant value but has the drawback of vendor lockin? The positives have to outweigh the negatives and I don't see that in this situation.

Re:Why? (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000454)

That is a ridiculous argument you will always be at the mercy of something or someone as a business. The key is to avoid it when possible

Yes, and my argument is that if you aren't committing significant resources to the problem, then all you are doing by avoiding reliance on Google is exchanging it for reliance on something else.

Why would any business owner want ANOTHER middle man that doesn't provide something that has significant value

Doesn't provide anything of significant value? Google employ people to maintain these systems 24/7, with very fast, redundant net connections. That kind of reliability is significantly valuable to a lot of people, and the startup situation you described earlier is far more prone to outages and other business risks.

Re:Why? (1)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000338)

Thanks but no thanks.
How do you not see this for what it is? It's free hosting. That's it. Free hosting with some serious backing. Now it's Python, but how long do you think it's going to be before you'll be able to run J2EE apps and/or php apps? I think it's great. At the very least, it'd be a great place to keep a little development server for the ole web_devel_house. How is it bad? Why do you want to hate right away?

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001304)

So let me get this straight.. I leave myself at the mercy of google in order to save the cost of IT administration? That doesn't sound like a good business decision.

The point about App Engine is that it's based on Google technologies like BigTable and GFS (along with a bunch of others that I can't talk about, but are equally cool). The real saving is not on IT administration but on the enormous pain of scaling up your infrastructure as the site grows.

The IT industry is littered with companies that failed the scaling challenge and lost their advantage. Friendster is the canonical example. You really don't want to build a successful business and then see it fall over and die because you aren't equal to the challenge of resharding your MySQL databases every month.

But wait. There are other advantages. App Engine is really a platform for Google to expose its technology to others. Scalable databases is only one part of it. There are plenty of other advantages to running on top of the Google platform. I haven't had a chance to check out the videos yet, so I'd rather not shoot my mouth off, but seriously - the stuff we have here simplifies a *lot* of annoying goop that otherwise you'd have to handle yourself (managing datacenters being only one obvious example).

Having seen for myself what it takes to run a large, popular website at a high degree of availability, I'm pretty excited about the launch of this service (disclaimer: I work for Google but not on App Engine). It means people can spend more time writing interesting software and less time on crap like debugging database replication and figuring out the annoying parts of how to geocode Japanese street addresses - cuz we do it for you.

Re:Why? (1)

anomalous cohort (704239) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001910)

I'd love an explanation on how this would speed up my time to delivery?

I agree. I ran through the getting started pages and didn't see anything better than http://www.zope.org/ [zope.org] or http://www.djangoproject.com/ [djangoproject.com] (competing python web application stacks).

So, the downside is learning a new application stack and the upside is free hosting for now. This sounds like it is targeting college students who can't afford the quite minimal ISP hosting costs currently available in the market. I can't see building a business around this for the same reason that SaaS has not predominated for mission critical systems.

They make a lot of "scalability for free" claims. If true, then that might make their offering more compelling. What's that old adage? Fantastic claims require fantastic proof. I look forward to seeing where this will go but am weary at "betting the farm" on it at this point in time.

Re:Why? (1)

oliderid (710055) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000134)

Because as a business owner, you recognize that Google is investing in your business by seeding your startup costs?

I'm a business owner and a wel developer
I watched the whole presentation. I failed to notice where they would help me to reduce any costs. I can already have (for free) everything I saw in this presentation (hosting excluded...And I don't pay this part...My clients do). It looks like a well balanced API, I won't certainly bash the work of those developers but there are already dozens of comparable solutions.

The same feeling I've got each time I see a new CMS...Ok great...Well done...Just like the one I'm currently using. So tell me if it is the same...What should I change?

I would have been far more interested by something similar to Flex. I don't know something truly new.

Re:Why? (1)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000392)

I failed to notice where they would help me to reduce any costs. I can already have (for free) everything I saw in this presentation (hosting excluded...And I don't pay this part...My clients do).
So you charge your clients for an in house development environment? Where do you do your development and testing? They are offering free hosting and you say "Except for the free hosting, I don't see where I can save money." It's free hosting...that's what it is. I don't think anyone's trying to tell you to go ahead and move over everything you've got on some server somewhere to the google engine but yo...it's free hosting. Fire off a development environment...or whatever.

flawed business model (2, Interesting)

CBravo (35450) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999786)

You don't. The business model is flawed.

The only persons able to use AppEngine are programmers. As such, setting up a LAMP configuration shouldn't be too hard. You can get hosting for 6 euro/month. Basically what they are saying is: we are between the 6 euro/month line and 0 euro/month. I don't see the business advantage here.

Scalability and performance management: they don't mention numbers. I therefore do not trust them.

Exit strategy: I can find a lot of LAMP providers, I know of only one Google AppEngine provider.

There are a billion more holes, but one argument is enough.

Re:flawed business model (1)

will (6647) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000464)

Basically what they are saying is: we are between the 6 euro/month line and 0 euro/month. I don't see the business advantage here.
That's nicely put, but I think they're looking at a longer game than that. They're playing for a future in which application delivery is a bulk commodity. I don't just mean space - they've already demonstrated that once you've built the data centre, space is as cheap as water - but the capacity to compute and deliver.

It's already happening, as it does in every computing medium: layers of abstraction build up to meet less expert users and more expert users create new possibilities on top of them. The kids want rails, not DBI. It's very likely that in ten years' time building your own LAMP stack equivalent will seem as sensible as as soldering together your own computer does now. There will still be people who do it, but they'll be the geniuses and the ones who live in faraday cages.

In that world, the winner is the one who determines the standard interfaces at the back and delivers the eyeballs at the front. Google is very well placed indeed.

Re:flawed business model (1)

mounthood (993037) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002012)

In that world, the winner is the one who determines the standard interfaces at the back and delivers the eyeballs at the front. Google is very well placed indeed.
Interesting that SQL isn't addressed by either Google or Amazon. It's hard to envision relational structures abandoned for Bigtable or SimpleDB, considering what an absolute staple a RDBM system is in IT. Even if DBI makes it easy to use, what about having developers structure data in sensible ways? I don't think we can scale our way out of people just recklessly dumping poorly structured data into an abstraction.

Re:flawed business model (1)

42forty-two42 (532340) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002300)

Both Amazon's SimpleDB and Google's 'GQL' query language have limitations placed to improve scalability - eg, no table joins, only one column used in a range query. The idea is to force the user into a schema that will scale well. Of course, you can always implement joins at the app level, etc, but you'll always be able to shoot yourself in the foot in any system.

Re:flawed business model (3, Insightful)

merreborn (853723) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001254)

You can get hosting for 6 euro/month. Basically what they are saying is: we are between the 6 euro/month line and 0 euro/month.
The resources google's providing here cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month. The CPU limits on the cheap hosting plans you refer to give out after a few tens of thousands of pageviews.

And those cheap hosting plans don't provide any sort of scaling. If you want to scale, you have to move to their dedicated servers, which cost just as much as everyone elses. Want to scale past a single dedicated server? You're on your own. They'll sell 'em to you, but load ballancing, database sharding... that's all on you.

This offer is unique. There is no comparable platform on the market.

Re:Why? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000698)


As a software developer and business owner why would I want to leave myself at the mercy of Google like this by being tied to their service?

Who said anything about tying yourself to Google? The apps are written in Python, they'll give you an appserver to run on your own machine. How is this service tying yourself to Google any more than using any other provider (including yourself)?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23000832)

Because, instead of one, you want to be at the mercy of many external entities. And because you are a software developer AND a business owner, that would make much more sense.

The point is - you are assuming Google will want to fuck you up badly, more than others where you already host your business. WTF, mate?

Re:Why? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001290)

It depends on what kind of things you're developing. What Google is offering here is essentially a way to integrate into their web infrastructure - you use Google accounts, your software can integrate with GMail (and likely other Google services in the future) etc. For certain kinds of web applications, it's a big plus.

As for Google, they get many other people developing applications that will all become part of the Google ecosystem, as far as end user is concerned. I think they will keep an eye on the more popular developments, and buy out those that clearly have potential. Oh, and ads, of course. A very smart move, if they manage to pull it off...

Microsoft, take note (3, Insightful)

Idaho (12907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999444)

This seems to be where (web) application development is heading: quick prototyping, no or hardly any deployment, storage or scalability issues. It's quite tempting, to say the least. Now compare that to the development environment Microsoft currently offers...

If I where working at Microsoft development I'd be shitting my pants right about now (imagine pictures of Ballmer dancing and screaming "developers! developers! developers!" here). This is clearly what google's after now that they own search (and web advertising). They have been building huge datacenters for a while now, they own probably one of the largest distributed computing systems on earth (and know how to keep it up and running), *and* they own parts of the netwerk that connects it all together (fibre etc.).

And now they are offering all web developers the ability to use this infrastructure..

On the other hand, I do see some important privacy and security concerns here. If I owned a company, I'm not sure I'd trust all my source code, data etc. to be stored on Google's servers, which are (in my case) even in a completely different country with different laws, jurisdiction etc. Not to mention, what if I later want to migrate because I don't like the terms of service, etc. Or, what happens if you would create anything that takes off and Google decides that they like it..

Re:Microsoft, take note (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22999486)

read this about some real issues of google http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&id=613720 [slashdot.org] http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/02/27/0045242&tid=172 [slashdot.org] good idea but in 48 hours two serious bugs on gmail and chaptcha if ballmer says: developer developer developer actually google say: marketing marketing marketing :D

Re:Microsoft, take note (1)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000506)

good idea but in 48 hours two serious bugs on gmail and chaptcha if ballmer says: developer developer developer actually google say: marketing marketing marketing :D
Ok, except for the fact the the Live Mail CAPTCHA breaking [zdnet.com] event happened weeks before so I'm sure that Microsoft isn't going to throw any stones Google's way anytime soon over that. Also, are we going to call that a "Bug"? Really? A bot being able to sign up for an account is a "bug". Really? A *serious* bug? Really?

Re:Microsoft, take note (2, Insightful)

Chineseyes (691744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999488)

Or, what happens if you would create anything that takes off and Google decides that they like it.. and that to me is the killer. If someone had a really good idea and it did well whats keeping someone at google from peeking at the code and creating a competing product and snuffing that persons product before it becomes wildly profitable?

Re:Microsoft, take note (2, Insightful)

mobiGeek (201274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999662)

Peeking at the code? Seriously...there are an insignificant number of software applications where code is the true IP.

Coding is never holy grail...it is a combination of the initial idea and the (often more importantly) the implementation of that idea that make or break a company.

No business that creates an application within the currently published infrastructure of Google Apps Engine is going to have enough rocket science in it to worry about having it stolen by Google (or any competent set of developers).

Re:Microsoft, take note (2, Interesting)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999792)

The same thing that prevet google from just looking at your idear and cloning it(That is:Nothing).

But it is very very little web 2.0 software where looking at an existing implementation makes it any more easy to clone the implementation.
Remember that google still have to do a complete and independent implementation.

I do for example not really think that looknig at the slasthdot code, would make it any more easy for me to implement a complete clone of slashdot.

Re:Microsoft, take note (1)

cyborch (524661) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000438)

Especially since looking at the /. code really isn't that hard to do [slashcode.com] .

Re:Microsoft, take note (1)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000962)

Well, copyright and patent laws come to mind. The agreement explicitly agrees that you have independent intellectual property rights and that Google has no claim over them.
The bottom line is that unless you have a no-compete clause (of questionable legality) in your existing contracts, you have the exact same legal protection against Google that you have against your own employees.

Re:Microsoft, take note (5, Informative)

Bazman (4849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999638)

The SDK includes a standalone web server, so if you decide to move it off of Google's service, all you need to do is find somewhere to run that server. If you have a DNS entry for your app then you're probably a click away from moving it. Just run the dev server...

  What you get from Google is the free hosting and access to the Google hardware. It might not be long before other providers offer Google App Engine hosting - it could become a standard. It looks like Django on steroids...

Re:Microsoft, take note (3, Insightful)

mattbee (17533) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000992)

I imagine the back-end implementations of their proprietary database system are key to any kind of performance, so I would expect Google have a long head start on anyone else hosting App Engine stuff and it'll take a lot of work for any conventional ISP to match their level of reliability (maybe - let's see how it goes :) ). I'm not biased.

Re:Microsoft, take note (1)

42forty-two42 (532340) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002132)

The SDK isn't designed for any degree of efficiency - heck, all queries are a linear search over all entries in the database. Additionally, if you're using google's auth system, well, you'll be stuck. (You have the option of rolling your own of course)

That said, the SDK is all under the apache license, so you could always dig in and optimize it to work well enough. In particular, the query syntax is very similar to SQL (actually, it's a subset of the syntax of SQL), so you could probably toss it onto a mysql server or something... assuming you've not grown to the part where you /need/ the scaling.

Re:Microsoft, take note (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22999686)

The web development landscape is changing, document based storage (eg: couchDB) will change the way we architect web apps. Frameworks and memcached are more like stopgap solutions, no language suitable for web development really needs a framework. A class loader and a well designed templating system are a mornings work -- frameworks only add unnecessary bloat and convoluted APIs.

Considering the web (unfortunately) runs on PHP and Google are offering Python, I'd say Microsoft can sleep soundly while they crank out their copycat^w"innovative" .NET version. Personally I'd prefer Java to Python but the ideal would be parrot [parrotcode.org] with decent langauge support (Microsoft already have their DLR).

As for the privacy concerns, sure that's a big issue. OTOH, I trust Google far more than I trust Microsoft.

Re:Microsoft, take note (1)

encoderer (1060616) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000432)

Document-based Databases have been around for longer than relational databases.

CouchDB is an interesting project, but it's not going to revolutionize anything. CERTAINLY not web-development which isn't even the target-market for Couch.

Re:Microsoft, take note (1)

42forty-two42 (532340) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002230)

Google has stated that additional languages are in the works - they've done release partially to get feedback on what to focus on next. Probably the main issue would be porting over the google library bindings, and sandboxing the language in question.

Re:Microsoft, take note (1)

sheldon (2322) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000682)

That is an interesting perspective. As a developer who uses Microsoft products, and is always looking for new ways to architect web apps, I saw this and thought about looking at the API and thinking about ways I could abstract out some of my common tasks into services, so that I could easily build a new app without having to worry about the little trivial stuff.

But apparently I'm supposed to be shitting my pants, because google is taking over.

How about regular HTML? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22999474)

How's this for a web app - HTML. Instead of that silly template system that you have to use to build a website how about just allowing basic HTML? Or possibly, if you just have to keep the template system, offer a blank white page to begin with.

I can understand the desire to not offer server-side scripting, but why no basic HTML?

Re:How about regular HTML? (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001384)

Because you don't built *applications* in HTML. This isn't geocities, it's an application platform.

Re:How about regular HTML? (1)

42forty-two42 (532340) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002320)

AppEngine lets you use regular HTML. You can ignore the template system entirely and code in traditional CGI style if you really want to. You probably don't /want/ to, but you /can/...

... run my own Web applications? ... (1)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999478)

I don't need no stinking google to do that ...

wait ...

you meant on THEIR servers ...

right.

Very Different from EC2 (5, Informative)

saterdaies (842986) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999558)

Originally, I thought that this would be a great competitor for EC2, but in reality it's very different.

EC2 allows you to configure a GNU/Linux environment to your liking and use it almost the same as you would use a dedicated server or VPS. Google's App Engine allows you to create Google Applications. They're written in Python (one of Google's production languages) and need to be written specifically to use things like Google's Bigtable.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. Google's infrastructure is top notch, but don't expect to try and launch the next Web 2.0 app this way. If you use Google's App Engine, your only course is independent or being bought by Google - because you'd have to rewrite so much of your app to migrate to other infrastructure. With EC2, it's decently easy to switch to dedicated servers. S3 could be replaced by a MogileFS cluster. That's much more appealing to anyone that isn't Google.

Essentially, Google's App Engine locks you into Google in a way that EC2/S3 doesn't lock you into Amazon (in fact, some of the considerations like lack of persistent storage make it easier to move away).

Unless someone implements Google App Engine on EC2 (3, Insightful)

ttul (193303) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999864)

It's inevitable -- someone will write an alternative hosting environment for App Engine applications. Google will also doubtless eventually start selling an App Engine appliance to start penetrating the enterprise market.

Re:Unless someone implements Google App Engine on (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22999922)

Google not only made the base engine available, you can use Django. Either one will let you deploy wherever you want, today, including EC2. You might have to fiddle with your models to get them to work with MySQL or SimpleDB, but that looks easy enough.

Don't see any lock in, and the major downside appears to be the need to expose your source to google.

Re:Very Different from EC2 (4, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999908)

Sort of. Apparently, you can stay pretty close to Django:

http://simonwillison.net/2008/Apr/8/forms/ [simonwillison.net]

I would imagine that someone will also write some code to sit between your app and database, pretending to be the data backend that Google is providing, simplifying migration away from teh Goog.

Direct from the source (1)

bennini (800479) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001106)

Google's infrastructure is top notch, but don't expect to try and launch the next Web 2.0 app this way. If you use Google's App Engine, your only course is independent or being bought by Google - because you'd have to rewrite so much of your app to migrate to other infrastructure.
From google's page on the Google App Engine:

Google App Engine applications are implemented using the Python programming language. The runtime environment includes the full Python language and most of the Python standard library. Although Python is currently the only language supported by Google App Engine, we look forward to supporting more languages in the future.
At the moment, only Python is supported. Judging by Google's strong faith in Java (i.e. Android) (ps. which i approve of), one can only assume that they will eventually add support for Java and most likely other languages as well. I think you are reaching when you say that "you'd have to rewrite so much of your app to migrate to another infrastructure." Besides, i highly doubt anyone is considering putting a massive, mission critical, real-time, flight booking system onto Google's App Engine and thus dont forsee complete application rewrites being necessary and/or very burdensome.

Re:Very Different from EC2 (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001500)

If you use Google's App Engine, your only course is independent or being bought by Google - because you'd have to rewrite so much of your app to migrate to other infrastructure.

Or, if you're actually building an application that even remotely needed Google-level scalability, you could write an abstraction layer for your data. If you built it correctly it would be relatively trivial to port to a different environment.

Do you really want to give your code to Google? (2, Insightful)

neuromancer23 (1122449) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999744)

With their history of censorship and government complicity, I know I wouldn't. I don't even like using any of there products.

A lot of talk is made about making web applications scalable, but in reality, you're not likely to have 200 million users overnight. Facebook and MySpace have about 50 million users a piece, and the reason that they can't scale is because everyone who works at those places is a moron. I mean MySpace runs on Windows and SQLServer, and then they wonder why they can't handle the traffic, or there application is exposing bugs to end-users at a rate of tens of thousands per second.

If you can't support a web application with a million concurrent users, and 50k transactions a second on a $4000 piece of hardware, then that generally means one of four things is wrong:

1. You're paying way too much for hardware.
2. Your DB Server is slow as hell. For high performance try PostgreSQL or MySQL instead of Oracle/SQLServer.
3. You application platform sucks. Try J2EE/Model 2. I've worked with everything you can imagine and Struts 1/Velocity smokes any other web-application framework out there. On average, It's about 10,000 times faster than CGI/PERL. Don't believe me? Quit being a fan boy and actually do some experimenting yourself[1]. Try doing some load testing against the same application implemented in different languages and see for yourself.
4. Your code sucks. Try picking up some books on Design Patterns. If you can't tell me what a Flyweight is or explain how process and threading models work on your particular platform, then you shouldn't be writing web-applications.

[1] That's why they call it computer science not computer religion.

Re:Do you really want to give your code to Google? (2, Insightful)

neuromancer23 (1122449) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999894)

Uh oh! I'm a Troll. Mental note: If you don't want to be despised, on slashdot, don't ever saying anything negative about Google or PERL.

"Quit confusing people with facts." - Bill O' Reilly

Re:Do you really want to give your code to Google? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23000342)

"Uh oh! I'm a Troll."

Is that surprising? Are you really surprised? Do you have to reply to your own troll modded post with a quote from someone else to be modded up? Is your ego and vanity that sensitive?

"Mental note: If you don't want to be despised, on slashdot, don't ever saying anything negative about Google or PERL."

Metal note: If you write a troll post, don't be surprised when it's marked troll and don't bother wasting other people's time defending your tiny e-penis ego in defending your post which won't matter soon enough anyway as it, like you and all of us with enough time will be forgotten, whether or not our images have been carved into rock.

""Quit confusing people with facts." - Bill O' Reilly"

Try posting something without using quotes from others out of context, troll.

Re:Do you really want to give your code to Google? (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000684)

No, you are a troll because you run around calling everybody who works at MySpace and Facebook morons.

Now, while I am sure they could never hold themselves up to you high levels of genius, cough cough, that does not make the morons. And running around calling people morons doesn't work in the real world, and is just plain rude here.

Re:Do you really want to give your code to Google? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23001010)

WRONG. That privilege is only reserved for Apple bashers.

Re:Do you really want to give your code to Google? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23000154)

Ballmer, is that you?

Anyone who rails against Google for censorship sickens me, especially when they fail to see Microsoft's (or point out) censorship and existing monopoly.

The camel nose is under the text, Ballmer holograms appearing on secret desks in Novell secret chambers so they may communicate with thier master as they appear at any Linux event.

The rebel alliance is needed! Where are you saviors of Linux? Now is the time for all good penguins to stand up and band together against Microsoft and any company it makes deals with! Just say NO to the convicted monopoly!

And for the dipshits who talk about zealots and religion: LEARN what a PHILOSOPHY is and the difference between upholding a philosophy vs. zealot/religion smearing, fucking morons!

Re:Do you really want to give your code to Google? (2, Interesting)

neuromancer23 (1122449) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000370)

Maybe I need to clear up some confusion:

I am a Linux user(Gentoo) and I hate Microsoft. As a matter of fact, out of the 20 machines I have at home, not one runs any Microsoft product.

Just because someone doesn't like Google's business practices doesn't mean that they're a fan of Microsoft, except in some bizarre Manichean universe. If I had to rank the level of evil of technology companies I would probably rank them like so (from most evil to least evil):

1. IBM: For planning and orchestrating the Holocaust.
2. Microsoft/Gates Foundation: For subverting standards, engaging in Trademark infringement(e.g. java), and the socialist and eugenicist policies and actions of the Gates Foundation.
3. Yahoo: For engaging in censorship which has led to the incarceration of several political dissidents.
4. Google: For engaging in censorship and supporting counter-intelligence agencies against the American people.
5. Telecoms: For supporting counter-intelligence agencies against the American people.

Re:Kookoo for Cocopuffs! Insane in the membrane! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23000500)

That was enlightening

Re:Do you really want to give your code to Google? (2, Interesting)

filterban (916724) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000954)

Struts 1/Velocity smokes any other web-application framework out there.

Really? You actually LIKE Struts? You have to be kidding me. Your statement may have been true 5 years ago but most of the Java industry has tried to move past Struts (including its author) and into something more testable and less verbose. Seriously, have you actually ever unit tested Struts code?

Your code sucks.

I love how this is the default answer. Sigh. A lot goes into supporting a million concurrent users besides "good code". Often times, using good design patterns can slightly impact performance but it gets you increased maintainability. If you really want speed, why not just write your whole web app as a CGI using C/C++? I bet that would be a heck of a lot 'faster' than anything running in bytecode.

There are crappy programmers out there, sure, and crappy platforms. However, building an app in PHP or Ruby or Python is so much faster than building in J2EE that it is a natural choice for those of us low on programmer budgets. Then, when the idea takes off, you can address scalability concerns with a reverse proxy and a few more boxes. The popular app platforms of today all have advantages, and we developers choose the best tool for the task at hand. Struts is not always better than Rails, for example. They each have their place (and Struts' happens to be, generally, on legacy apps.)

Re:Do you really want to give your code to Google? (1)

neuromancer23 (1122449) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001390)

>>> Your statement may have been true 5 years ago but most of the Java industry has tried to move past Struts (including its author)

Well if Craig wanted to create a a JSR with JSF. JSF is much slower than Struts. Plus it has a massive session footprint. Plus it sucks working with JSF.

>>> Seriously, have you actually ever unit tested Struts code?

Well there is Struts test case, but if you have a good design, you shouldn't have any code that needs to be unit tested in a struts action. If you have code that needs to be tested in a struts action this is generally an indicator of poor design.

If you have a separate business/domain model that's been tested and validation module that's been tested, and there is no presentation logic to be tested since as I mentioned before, we are using Model 2, why would you need to to test your struts action?

If your controller contains business logic, then you've violated the MVC pattern.

>>> If you really want speed, why not just write your whole web app as a CGI using C/C++? I bet that would be a heck of a lot 'faster' than anything running in bytecode.

Sorry. It isn't. CGI/C++ is slower than Struts. I suspect this is because of the extra process overhead for each request and the fact that CGI in general is slow. Even standalone Java applications frequently out-perform standalone C++ apps depending on how your system was compiled. This is because the JVM can do optimization that frequently isn't done for native code. Also, once the JIT process completes you effectively have native code, which makes Java at worst, at least as fast as C++, but with a slightly higher heap footprint.

Not saying that Struts doesn't have problems (it does) but as far as I know, it still performs better than any web-app framework out there, which was what the original post was about

Vendor Lockin (1)

boris111 (837756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999766)

From Google:
The App Engine datastore is not like a traditional relational database. Data objects, or "entities," have a kind and a set of properties. Queries can retrieve entities of a given kind filtered and sorted by the values of the properties. Property values can be of any of the supported property value types.

Say you create a successful app that really starts to take off. Are you stuck with google because the DB API will require massive rework if you want to migrate to another vendor.

Re:Vendor Lockin (1)

oni (41625) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000164)

Well, if you're smart, you create an abstraction layer between your business logic code and the database code. Then, if you ever need to get away from google, you just have to extract the data somehow, import it into some other database, and switch out the database layer.

And when I say "smart" I mean "unrealistically idealistic"

Learn some design patterns (1)

bennini (800479) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000898)

Say you create a successful app that really starts to take off. Are you stuck with google because the DB API will require massive rework if you want to migrate to another vendor.
Which is what the Data Access Object (DAO) design pattern is for. Decoupling your application's business logic from the persistence tier is incredibly easy.

Re:Vendor Lockin (4, Funny)

hanshotfirst (851936) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001626)

Not to be Captain Obvious here, but...

[x] Limited Language Choices
[x] Non-relational Database
[x] Giant, Centralized Processing resource
[x] Said resource shared with others

Oh, Goody! Google just invented the Mainframe.
Where do I sign up for my timeslice?

Re:Vendor Lockin (1)

encoderer (1060616) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002442)

Probably. Because if Google App engine is your first choice you're probably an amateur.

But if you're good at what you do, you'd write a data abstraction layer that interfaces w/ the Google Data Objects.

Migrating would only force you to adapt that abstraction layer to whatever platform you're migrating to.

This is a common practice since all current RDBMS implementations do things a little differently. Right now it's relatively easy to write such a layer.

W/ GApps it would be a little more difficult, since the layer would be abstracting not just minor syntax issues but also more cumbersome data model issues. But it's nothing extraordinary.

The future (5, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 6 years ago | (#22999976)

I think this move is being mis-characterized by a lot of people. I actually think this is a very clever move by Google, and a taste of the future.

One of the key ways Microsoft won the desktop OS wars was basically making it easy for developers to create applications for it. Google has realised that the focus for application development is moving from the desktop to the web. If they can create a system that makes it easy for developers to create web based applications, then developers are going to integrate what they develop with Google services, effectively giving Google the kind of lock-in that Microsoft had with the web.

I don't know why people keep comparing this to Amazon's EC2. This I think is very different, both technically and strategically, and it is all about providing online developers with a rich way to incorporate Google services into their applications.

Startup farming (3, Insightful)

Ambidisastrous (964023) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001534)

Not only that, but any startup that's built with this infrastructure would be incredibly easy for Google to buy and integrate if they become successful. If YouTube had been built with this, it would have been a drop-in replacement for Google Video. Or even better, Writely, kicking off Google's semi-recent bid for the Enterprisey market. For Google, any new online Office-style productivity apps that spring up and happen to be built with this framework will look like a Christmas present with a bow on it.

Re:The future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23001928)

So the obvious next step is that Google starts to give search ranking "preference" to websites that they host over websites hosted by others. And as we all know, if it doesn't exist on Google, then it doesn't exist on the web. Eventually, it won't pay to host with anyone OTHER than Google. So Google can use their search Monopoly to gain control over the entire Internet space. It will probably be renamed to Googlenet at that point.

This is made of win and awesome (5, Interesting)

Wiseman1024 (993899) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000054)

I'm quite excited at this announcement. Basically they are offering me:

- A system on which I can create and deploy applications that will always scale automatically, the only difference when doubling my traffic being the invoice I get by the end of the month. I don't have to deal with engineering or choosing a safely scalable application framework, looking, paying and dealing with a scalable application server, database, shared storage system (e.g. a SAN) and load balancer, run and maintain a fast network, perform backups, etc. All I do is write and run the application as I need.

- A system where such costs (application server, database, storage, load balancing, network and backups) scale perfectly with the actual use (and presumably profit) of my application, without having to make any huge investments.

- A system that will allow me to start for free and try it all, or just work freely for my hobby community, granting me no less than 500 MB. The competition today consists of a handful sub-par free hosts with 50 MB, a crappily configured PHP 4.3 and don't ask for speed or availability.

- Integration with Google applications (GMail; presumably, with all of them in the future).

- A standarized development environment based on a truly high-level, productive, modern language (not that Java business crap, but something that actually allows you to work fast and smart).

Google hosting it? I couldn't give a damn. My applications are usually GPL, including the business ones. It's not the application what's sold, it's the development and the service, and even if it were the application, I would trust Google as much as I would trust any other host.

The only caveat I see would be the datastore, which is not a relational database supporting SQL, but I'd have to see how good it is. At least it supports transactions, which are the single most difficult feature to implement in your own storage system. Everything else is just comfort, and when you work in Python, a language with first-class functions, builtin lists and dictionaries, list comprehensions, generators, a real object system, decent properties, operator overloading, mixins and dynamic modification of anything, and a dozen more features traditional languages such as Java or PHP couldn't dream of, I'm not worried about being able to query my data comfortably.

Re:This is made of win and awesome (1)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001406)

The datastore doesn't support multi-table joins. That's kind of a 30 year setback as far as database technology goes. I have been hearing more and more from scalability experts that joins are hard to scale and one shouldn't even bother with them and instead do all the joining manually in the app tier as needed.

Re:This is made of win and awesome (2, Informative)

protohiro1 (590732) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002210)

The experts you are talking to are wrong (I worked on an app until a week ago that did huge joins millions of times a day, using oracle RAC). Joins in the db scale much better than doing joins in the app. The real issue is that some data really isn't all that relational, so a non-relational db like BigTable is very appropriate and much, much faster than a relational db. If you need to do joins in your application design you can't really do it on a non-relational db.

Re:This is made of win and awesome (2, Informative)

42forty-two42 (532340) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002198)

The only caveat I see would be the datastore, which is not a relational database supporting SQL, but I'd have to see how good it is. At least it supports transactions, which are the single most difficult feature to implement in your own storage system.
Note that transactions are semi-limited - you have to loosely partition your data into smallish chunks, and any given transaction can only act within one chunk. (There's no performance penalty to having /too small/ chunks, and indeed the default is to put each row in its own chunk. But if chunks are too large performance will suffer) Presumably they're only implementing transactions as a local-to-database-replica thing; none of that fancy two-phase commit stuff.

Wikipedia hosting (1)

ryuch (72470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000400)

Wikipedia,

Don't worry about the money for buying servers and bandwidth!
Migrate to Google App Engine!

MySQL could be replaced by Bigtable. You could export the database in Bigtable for any users,
'cause it's scable. Every wikipedian, please donate your google data quota for wikipedia!

Probably the next language following Python would be php because of Wikpedia.

Re:Wikipedia hosting (1)

stickystyle (799509) | more than 6 years ago | (#23000860)

except that google already houses some of wikipedia servers.... http://google-blog.dirson.com/post.new/0233/ [dirson.com]

Re:Wikipedia hosting (1)

42forty-two42 (532340) | more than 6 years ago | (#23002444)

Actually, they don't - that page was based on rumor and/or speculation; there's no actual google hosting at the moment: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Google_hosting [wikimedia.org]

OMG Free Hosting! What a great idea! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23000594)

I'm really glad the incredibly creative people at Google put thier minds to work on another totally original business offering: free web hosting!

As if taking Geocities, slapping a Google logo on it and releasing it to the world is somehow going to make the majority of us, who got away from free hosting even for our junk/test sites, at some point in 1998, want to try all that over again.

An API? wow, is that nothing more than a gloified sitebuilder, the likes of which Yahoo/Geocities and all the other free hosts have had for over 10 years?

Ask a web developer what an API is, they will tell you it comes in a "Stack": Linux/Windows/FreeBSD/etc. SQL/MySQL/PostGre/Oracle/etc. PHP/ASP/.Net/Python/ColdFusion/etc.

Sign over your rights and trademarks to Google (1)

al0ha (1262684) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001250)

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.

If you happen to build the next killer app on Google's system, Google has the right to use all of your data and trademarks for advertising and publicity. With no compensation to you. Of course this could work in your favor as it may bring further publicity to you, but one may surmise that if you've created such a presence that Google is interested in using it for their own gain; you don't need to ride their coat tails.

Re:Sign over your rights and trademarks to Google (2, Insightful)

Skidge (316075) | more than 6 years ago | (#23001992)

I don't see where it says "data" in there. As a matter of fact, the previous point in the policy says:

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....
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