Using App Engine, developers can now create Web-based group messaging apps and apps that distribute voicemail and SMS messages, for example. Twilio provides a tutorial for creating an app that can send business cards via SMS.
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App Engine is one of several services on the Google Cloud Platform. Other services include Compute Engine, Cloud Storage, BigQuery, Cloud SQL and the Prediction and Translate APIs.
App Engine was released five years ago as an experimental platform-as-a-service offering. Initially, it appealed to startups and projects driven by individual developers. Then in 2011, Google got serious about attracting businesses to its platform and competing with the better-established Amazon Web Services platform. It changed its pricing model and committed to a service level agreement, among other things.
In a post on Quora, Thomas Schranz, co-founder and CEO of Web-based project management service blossom.io, lauds App Engine for its application performance analytics, which he says "make it very easy to identify bottlenecks, inefficient database queries and other issues that usually are very hard to diagnose."
As an incentive to encourage developers to open Twilio accounts and create communication-oriented App Engine apps, Twilio is offering a $20 service credit and 2,000 texts or inbound minutes.
Last month, Google introduced the Google Drive Realtime API, which allows developers to create apps integrated with Google Drive that support real-time collaboration, as seen in Google Docs.
In February, Cloud Sherpas, a Google integration partner, released Ferris, a Python framework for accelerating Google App Engine development.
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