Google Yells “Enterprise Developers, Enterprise Developers!”

In case you weren’t paying attention, Google announced a few things yesterday. You have to admit, Google knows how to make announcements and they made a bunch. That link has a nice summary of most of the releases, and you can go to many of the major tech blogs to get a good feeling for how much of the Google ecosystem has changed.

My focus is on the developer related items, specifically my post regarding Google Apps Script and the updates for Google App Engine for Business. In my post, I talked about how Google was trying to win business customers that need small departmental applications:

You can connect to MySQL and build a custom user interface if you have the Premier Edition. There is also more integration with Google Docs. Does anyone remember how many applications were written using VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) and Microsoft Access? What Google is trying to do is take that model and put it on the web.

With the new App Engine for Business, Google has now made the barrier of deploying to the web disappear. Two days ago you heard about the Apps Script changes, but you still had to get someone to publish the website. Yesterday you learned that Google wanted to be your new application host:

  • Centralized administration: A new, company-focused administration console lets you manage all the applications in your domain.
  • Reliability and support: 99.9% uptime service level agreement, with premium developer support available.
  • Secure by default: Only users from your Google Apps domain can access applications and your security policies are enforced on every app.
  • Pricing that makes sense: Each application costs just $8 per user, per month up to a maximum of $1000 a month. Pay only for what you use.
  • Enterprise features: Coming later this year, hosted SQL databases, SSL on your company’s domain for secure communications, and access to advanced Google services.

Just in case enterprise hosting was not enough, they decided to go after startups too. In a separate post that describes some basic updates to App Engine, they sneak in this nugget:

We’re also demoing a few upcoming features of App Engine at I/O as part of our sessions:

  • Mapper API – A simple library for executing work in parallel over a large dataset, such as all your datastore entities or line-based data in a Blobstore blob.
  • Channel API – The Channel API lets you build applications that can push content directly to your user’s browser (aka “Comet”). No more polling for updates!

Basically, the Channel API is adding push capabilities to your App Engine application without a huge amount of work. The Mapper API is a little different, and you would have to follow Google’s technology to understand what this means. Basically, a library that allows you to execute work in parallel over a large dataset is the high-level description of the MapReduce framework. So, it looks like everyone will be able to crunch data like Google in the near future.

These two posts really point to Google going after developers and the enterprise. Ad revenue may not grow forever, and Google seems to have learned from Microsoft that developers can be king-makers. If people build enough applications on App Engine, Google can slowly grow a massive revenue stream. They also give you a nice taste of the future with their App Engine roadmap. Take a look at the other features they are planning in the next six months:

  • SSL for third-party domains
  • Background servers capable of running for longer than 30s
  • Ability to reserve instances to reduce application loading overhead
  • Ability to select different availability vs. latency options for Datastore
  • Datastore dump and restore facility
  • Raise request/response size limits for some APIs
  • Improved monitoring and alerting of application serving
  • Built-in support for OAuth & OpenID

If you look at this list, it screams enterprise support. SSL, background servers or daemons, backup and restore, server and application monitoring, and authentication. These are all the pieces that an enterprise would need. Do we need any more proof that Google is going after enterprise applications? Or do we need Ballmer to defect to Google just so he can yell “developers, developers, developers!”

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