Google Offers Free Server Space To Developers

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Google has given 10,000 developers free access to its servers to test and run new applications. The Google App Engine is a service by which developers can write their own applications; in effect, online programs. It's the same system Google uses for its own online services, including a calendar and a photo gallery.

It's considered a challenge to similar services from Amazon, which rents out server space. Servers are the computers that physically store and run online programs and web pages. Many individuals and small firms find it cheaper to rent server space rather than buy and maintain their own equipment.

The main difference is that while Amazon sells individual services, Google offers a complete package. Developers will have little choice about the technology they use, but it does mean they can simply write an application, upload it to Google, and it will then be available for any web user, regardless of what type of computer or web browser they use.

At the moment, the system only works for applications written in Python, a language used for programming. Eventually, it should work with all programming languages.

Google's service also allows developers to easily track how many people are using their application. The mammoth Google system can easily adjust if there's a sudden boom in the number of users, preventing the developer's server from being overwhelmed.

The free offer is initially only available as a trial to the first 10,000 applicants and spaces have been filled. During the trial, developers will get enough server access to allow up to five million page views a month. Once the trial is over, it appears there will be a choice between a free service with some space and use limitations, and a paid service, though the pricing structure isn't yet confirmed. (Source:

In theory, services like this should make it much easier to make programs that run equally well on all types of computers and other Internet-enabled devices. But there are already some fears that it will be easier for Google to buy up popular applications because they won't have to worry about making them compatible with the company's systems. (Source:

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