Google Unveils New Cloud Development Tools at Google I/O


Some of Google’s top minds took to the stage at Google I/O Wednesday to introduce several new tools for developers building cloud-based applications for the Android OS and the Chrome browser, two platforms that are starting to offer overlapping functionality.  

Near the end of Wednesday’s keynote at the developer's conference, Urs Holzle, senior vice president of technical infrastructure, unveiled new features to enhance the Google Cloud Platform and make it more powerful for developers.

“We try to make our cloud not just highly functional but also really easy to use,” Holzle told roughly 6,000 attendees who packed the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

[Related: Google I/O Developer Conference: 11 New Apps For Google Glass ]

Google unveiled four new developer productivity features for its cloud platform: Cloud Save, Cloud Debugger, Cloud Trace and Cloud Monitoring.

The company also introduced cloud platform integration into Android Studio, a feature intended to simplify the process of adding a cloud-based back end to mobile apps.

Another new offering unveiled at the conference was Cloud Dataflow, a managed data processing service that can just as easily analyze real-time, streaming data flows as it can batch sets.

Eric Schmidt, a cloud solutions architect at Google (not to be confused with the executive chairman), demonstrated Dataflow to attendees by assessing fan sentiment in the World Cup. He tapped into Twitter data APIs to demo his sentiment analysis of soccer teams competing in Brazil.

“Cloud Dataflow is the result of over a decade of experience in analytics,” Schmidt said.

Dataflow offers a “simple, fully managed service” that developers can use to “create data pipelines for analyzing arbitrarily large data sets,” Schmidt said.

The product replaces the outdated MapReduce technology, which is a decade old. Like most systems, MapReduce breaks down with a few Petabytes, Holzle told attendees.

“Dataflow does for entire pipelines what MapReduce did for a single step,” he added.

Holzle began his turn on stage talking about Google’s IaaS offering, Compute Engine, which he claimed to have the “best-in-class performance and price” in addition to allowing developers to “run whatever code you want.”

He then discussed Google’s PaaS offering, App Engine, for developers who “don’t want to bother administering machines.”

“App engine makes it incredibly easy to write really high-scale applications,” Holzle said, citing Snapchat as an application built on the platform that scaled extensively without a single back-end developer.

Holzle then went through the storage options available on the cloud platform, from SQL and NoSQL as fully managed services running billions of queries per hour, to Object Storage that scales to any size.

“But you cannot just store data, you also want to analyze it,” he said.

For that reason, Google offers tools such as BigQuery, which streams hundreds of thousands of records into the cloud that can be queried interactively with SQL.

Advances in hardware have allowed Google to offer great sustained usage discounts without making customers sign up for contracts, make up-front payments or forecast years of utilization, Holzle said.

“As hardware gets cheaper, we pass on these savings to you, so you see Moore’s Law in the cloud,” he told attendees.

Holzle introduced Greg DeMichillie, director of product management for the cloud platform, to elaborate on the four new tools.

DeMichillie demonstrated Cloud Save, a product that enables Android applications to synchronize data between devices, with an app he built to record walks and share the information with friends. Cloud Save requires no server-side coding to store data in Cloud Datastore, retrieve and synchronize it to other devices.

“I can build Web applications that use that data using app engine or compute engine,” DeMichillie said.

Still playing with the walk-recording app, DeMichillie also demonstrated Debugger, which like its name suggests simplifies the debugging process, and Cloud Trace, a visualization tool that offers insights into application performance.

Debugger offers a full stack trace and snapshots of local variables at developer-selected watch points in the code.

Integrated from the acquisition of Stackdriver, Cloud Monitoring identifies unusual behavior across the application stack and offers dashboards and alerting tools that provide visibility into application functions.

“We automatically detect what services you’re using.” DeMichillie said of Cloud Monitoring.

Those tools and services allow developers to maximize their productivity, according to Holzle.

“They keep their teams small, and they can focus on what they do best, because we run the rest of the infrastructure for them,” Holzle said.

Google also revealed at I/O that Google Drive for Work will now allow an unlimited amount of cloud store, although individual files can’t exceed 5 Terabytes.

PUBLISHED JUNE 25, 2014

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