At Google, we host a large number of "tech talks". These talks cover a wide rage of Computer Science topics like research in machine learning and methods for ranking images based on text queries. I've enjoyed attending these tech talks, but as the number of attendees has grown over time, the question-and-answer part of the talks hasn't been able to scale. There was never enough time for all the questions, and it wasn't clear that the best questions were the ones actually getting asked. And since many of these talks were led by offices outside of Mountain View, it became harder for distributed audiences to participate.
To help with this, I designed a tool in my 20% time that would allow anyone attending a tech talk to submit a question, and then give other participants a way to vote on whether or not that question should be asked. This way, the most popular and relevant questions would rise to the top so that the presenter or the moderator of an event could run the discussion more efficiently and in a transparent manner. The tool, which we internally called "Dory" after our favorite question-asking fish in Finding Nemo, quickly grew to other parts of Google including our weekly all-hands company meeting, as well as for our series of talks led by political candidates or distinguished authors.
Several of our colleagues and visitors to Google have asked if we could make it available externally for any kind of talk, presentation and/or event. Conveniently, Google App Engine launched in April and made it easy for us to do this! As a result, we're pleased to release this tool, now called Google Moderator, on Google App Engine. Google Moderator is available now and is free to use. To get started go to moderator.appspot.com and sign in to your Google Account.
Many people have been asking for clarification on their application's CPU usage, and today we are happy to announce the release of a new Admin Console. These improvements are designed to give better insight in to your application's resource usage.
Your application's dashboard now displays the average amount of CPU consumed for each of your handlers, as well as the percentage of CPU of that handler with respect to your application:
For information on how these values are calculated, see our FAQ.
Additionally, in your logs you can find the amount of CPU consumed for each request:
Remember, you can download all of your logs from the Admin Console. And with the CPU usage stats, you can profile how your app performs and work to optimize requests that consume the most resources. By minimizing the work done on each request you can reduce your application latency and rest easy knowing your app will scale easily! Feel free to discuss in our Google Group!
Yesterday we released the latest SDK, and you can read all about it in the release notes.
Notable new features in this SDK are:
It also includes the following issue fixes:
The new SDK is available for download, and as always, we welcome your feedback on the group!
Two weeks ago, there were two App Engine events in Seattle, and I have to say, Seattle is rocking cloud computing.
The first event was at StartPad, a coworking facility where lots of great start-ups are based. Yours truly gave a presentation, interrupted quite frequently by excellent questions, to a crowd of about 40 people. There were lots of people interested in cloud computing, both Google App Engine and Amazon's AWS. After all, who wants to manage their own data center?
The second event was Google's App Engine Hack-a-thon, where about 45 people came and hacked away on their App Engine applications. It was great fun. Here are just some of the apps that people wrote and demoed during the event:
StumbleRead - a Friend Feed aggregator.
After Market Accounts - Allows you to resell website registrations.
Media Library - Allows you to store and organize your iTunes library information.
PublicDominion - A wiki that generates new web pages automatically from user-added tags.
Plain Ticket - A message queue for Google App Engine applications.
Thanks Seattle, for your hospitality.
We're happy to announce Google App Engine hack-a-thon in Tokyo, Japan. This hack-a-thon is mainly for Japanese speaking people, but if you can only speak English, no problem, you are also welcome to attend.
Build With Us, or Build Your Own
Throughout the day, we will be building a complete App Engine application, and sharing the code with you so you can code along with us. If, on the other hand, you already have a great idea for what to build, bring that idea along. Even better, prepare sketches, designs, web page mock-ups, etc. ahead of time, and use the hackathon to develop your idea into a working application that you can share with the world.
At the end of the day, we'll invite you to share your App Engine applications with the group.
What Do I Need?
We will provide facilities, power, refreshments and experts to help you learn to use Google App Engine and write your application. Just bring your laptops, ideas and enthusiasm to complete the mix.
When and Where?
The Tokyo hack-a-thon will take place Saturday September 20, 2008 from 10AM-6PM(JST +900). It will be held in Google's Tokyo Office.
Space is limited so Sign Up now.
Takashi Matsuo, Naoki Ishihara