A pricing change first discussed in May now prompts an outcry as developers see their bills skyrocket.
Google says it is looking into user discussions of App Engine's new pricing scheme--in the wake of vocal outrage at the magnitude of the change.
In May, Google announced that it would alter the price of App Engine, the company's platform as a service offering, later in the year. But the published pricing model didn't make many waves because few bothered to do the math.
Nokia researcher and App Engine user Russell Beattie, for example, complains that under the new pricing model, the cost of his App Engine app for one day will rise from $2.63 to $34.38--a figure that will double in November after a 50% discount expires.
Santiago Lema, an iOS developer posting to Beattie's Google+ thread, echoes that sentiment. "I am stunned too," he wrote. "My (private) iPhone stats website used to cost me $0.41 per day. Now the estimate for past days is at about $7.00."
Developer Ugorji Nwoke in a blog post slammed Google. "Google has done a major disservice to its cult of developers by changing the pricing terms of App Engine ridiculously while giving developers short notice to react," he wrote. "In doing so, Google may have done severe damage to their brand and the trust that developers put in them."
Developers may be able to reduce these charges through code optimization, but many of those complaining insist their code is already optimized.
Google offered a non-committal response to the outcry. "We're taking a look at the user discussions right now," a company spokesperson noted in an email.
On the App Engine website, the company says that it is looking into special programs for non-profits, educational institutions, and open-source projects.
Google has defended the price increase as a necessary business decision. "Most paying customers will see higher bills," the company says on its website. "During the preview phase of App Engine we have been able to observe what it costs to run the product as well as what typical use patterns have been. We are changing the prices now because GAE is going to be a full product for Google and therefore needs to have a sustainable revenue model for years to come."
Google developers can at least thank the company for its commitment to data portability. The company supported a project designed to reduce the risk of cloud lock-in: AppScale is an open-source framework for running Google App Engine applications on alternative cloud infrastructure and virtualization software, such as Amazon EC2, Eucalyptus, KVM, and Xen. If better prices can be found elsewhere, at least App Engine users have an escape route.
But AppScale isn't necessary to jump ship. "I've moved to a small VPS cluster at RackSpace Cloud," wrote Peter Petrov, a programmer based in Bulgaria, in a Google Groups post. "I rewrote my entire app as a Node.js application (previously was GAE/Python using Kay). Very happy so far, I don't think I'll ever return to GAE."
See the latest IT solutions at Interop New York. Learn to leverage business technology innovations--including cloud, virtualization, security, mobility, and data center advances--that cut costs, increase productivity, and drive business value. Save 25% on Flex and Conference Passes or get a Free Expo Pass with code CPFHNY25. It happens in New York City, Oct. 3-7, 2011. Register now.
Google in the Enterprise SurveyThere's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.