As many know, when Google App Engine came out I became immediately enamored with it. I saw it as a way to democratize access to server-hosted code. It meant everyone in the world could have server space at no charge and I hoped it would unleash creativity. I wrote the first book on App Engine (released through O’Reilly and Associates). I switched the course I was teaching from Ruby on Rails to use App Engine and it was taught that way for over 3 years. I started doing more and more server side development in Python. I started moving some of my production stuff from PHP to App Engine to show the faith.
But my enthusiasm and rush to embrace all things App Engine was not to last. I could write a book on went wrong with App Engine but here are a few of the high points. (1) They never would help you with performance problems unless your name is “Sal Khan” – they just were the Honey Badger. (2) Once they used us early adopters to Beta test their code by building free applications – the “free” resource levels went down to force more folks to the pay version. (3) They just decided to break working code as they went to Python 2.7 – no need to support legacy (say like Microsoft does) – again the cries of “foul” fell on the deaf Honey Badger ears.
That is not to say that App Engine had zero value. It motivated companies like Amazon to create truly useful services like EC2 that actually met user’s needs and let users do what they wanted and let users log in to diagnose why their code was running slowly. So App Engine was not quite a Google Wave that never took off. More like a Google Reader that told Yahoo that there was demand for such a service.
Google has done a lot of forcing innovation upon us – like the AJAX revolution through Google Maps and GMail. And I love Chrome (I am using it to write this post).
So I have been recently getting mail that my App Engine and Apps stuff that I built during my post-Google I/O (2008, 2009) high are not active so they will be deleted. I have many opportunities to simply “click this button” to extend the life of these things. But this time, it is my turn to be the Honey Badger. Because you see I simply do not care. I just cannot depend Google for anything other than AdSense, Search, Maps and Mail. You are good at supporting your applications and terrible at supporting my applications. Your developer stuff is so freakishly proprietary and you have no commitment to continuity. I like Amazon a lot – they “get” me – Amazon is my partner – they want me to succeed and get a cut of my success. Google makes me feel like a side of beef – an asset to be managed.
Here is the mail I just got. I am putting it into this blog post so I can gleefully delete it and ignore it – like the Honey Badger would.
There hasn’t been any activity on your Google Apps account for the domain cloudcollab.com since we sent your termination notice 30 days ago.
Your cloudcollab.com Google Apps account has been closed.
You can still check or save your data. Just sign in to admin.google.com as firstname.lastname@example.org in the next 30 days and export your data. If you forgot your username or password, click the “Need help?” link, and we’ll help you access your account.
Your account will be automatically terminated on May 8th 2014. Once your account is terminated, you can no longer access any Google Apps services with this domain name. All of your account data, such as your Gmail messages and contacts, will be permanently deleted to protect your privacy. No one will be able to access your old data by creating a new Google Apps account with this domain name.
Visit the Google Apps Help Center to learn more about closing inactive accounts.
We hope you’ve enjoyed using Google Apps. If you would like to continue using these services, we invite you to create a new Google Apps for Business account.
The Google Apps Team