Google App Engine: No Waiting

SAN FRANCISCO ' Google's long-awaited application development environment, the Google App Engine, is now generally available, the company announced yesterday.

The Google App Engine is a set of tools and services designed to enable third-party developers to build and scale Web applications on Google's infrastructure. Applications developed using the App Engine Software Development Kit can be uploaded and hosted by Google. Those applications can then use Google's bandwidth and computing power.

The search giant first released the App Engine April 7 as a limited-access preview, initially inviting about 10,000 developers to kick the tires, provide feedback and help squash the bugs. The company began adding developers to the preview list almost immediately, and to date about 75,000 have tried out the system, said Google product manager Paul McDonald. An estimated 150,000 developers signed up for the access waiting list, he said.

"We're very excited about this," McDonald said in a pre-conference interview. "No more list; no more waiting."

Google unveiled two new application program interfaces at its developer conference in San Francisco. The first is the Image Manipulation API, which is designed to allow developers to resize, rotate, crop and enhance images on the server. It uses the technology behind Google's Picasa online photo-sharing Web site.

The second is the Memcached API, a scalable, high-performance caching layer that sits on top of Google's data store. Memcached allows developers to store the results of data-store queries in an in-memory cache, which speeds page rendering.

Google also disclosed its plans for the App Engine's pricing structure. "We've gotten a lot of requests from developers to be more transparent about our pricing," said Google product manager Pete Koomen. "So we're releasing our plan early to get feedback and to give developers a chance to plan ahead."

Google doesn't yet have the ability to bill developers, Koomen said, but expects to have that system in place sometime later this year.

The company still plans to give away 500M of storage and enough bandwidth and compute power for about five million page views per month. After that, developers can expect to pay 10 to 12 cents per CPU core-hour, 15 to 18 cents per gigabyte-month of storage, 11 to 13 cents per gigabyte of outgoing bandwidth, and 9 to 11 cents per gigabyte of incoming bandwidth.

The Google I/O Conference at San Francisco's Moscone Center West is the company's largest ever developer conference. "We've had an incredible response to this event," McDonald said. "We planned it for a few thousand people, and at last count we were getting close to 3,000 registered attendees."

At press time, Google's App Engine Web site had yet to be updated to reflect the public release.

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