Google App Engine, the service that allows web application developers to deploy using Google’s servers, is now open to everyone.
App Engine is supposed to make it much easier to launch and scale web apps. It’s still in testing mode, but now anyone can sign up. Until now, developers had to get in line for an invite, and the waiting list had reached 150,000. With this announcement, there’s no more waiting list.
The announcement came from Kevin Gibbs, the tech lead for Google App Engine, during the keynote speech at the Google I/O conference.
App Engine is available for free, but Gibbs also previewed the pricing plan that Google says it will finalize by the end of the year. Gibbs says the basic service should remain free for up to 5 million page views per month. Once an app goes beyond that threshold, Google will charge developers on a number of metrics — for example, App Engine will cost around 10-12 cents per core-hour and 15-18 cents per gigabyte of storage. Overall, the rates look to be higher than the competing Amazon Web Services, but keep in mind they only kick in after 5 million page views. Gibbs estimated that an app that receives a total of 10 million page views will cost the developer around $40 per month.
Gibbs also showed off some of the apps that have already been deployed on Google App Engine, including TweetWheel, a graphic representation of your friends on Twitter (I assume Twitter has to work first for this to work); LaterLoop, which downloads webpages to your mobile phone for later reading; and an application developed in-house after the recent earthquake in China to track relatives in the earthquake area.
There are some other announcements coming of the keynote and the conference. I’ll try to update this post with more news throughout the morning. Unfortunately, it may take a little longer than I’d like — the irony is that as Google execs talk about their plans to increase connectivity, actual wireless connectivity in the convention hall is horrifically slow.
Update: During the keynote, Allen Hurff of MySpace also showed off a new system for sorting messages on the social networking using Google Gears, which is available today. If a MySpace user installs Google Gears, they can, for a example, type in a few search terms and have their inbox dynamically sorted. The feature works really quickly, because Gears allows the messages to be sorted on the desktop, rather than constantly going back-and-forth with MySpace’s servers.
Update 2: AOL has been announced as the latest company to join the OpenSocial initiative, a social networking alliance that also includes Google, MySpace and Yahoo.
Update 3: Google also gave a really impressive demo of its mobile operating system Android. Check out the embedded video below, which includes a Google Street View feature that alters the view as you move the phone — something that drew loud applause. This video and more at Android Community.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PRfVKzuUJ4&w=425&h=355]