How many Google App Engine apps are there?

I’m in San Diego today with Lenny Rachitsky of Webmetrics, talking about possibilities for cloud research. We were discussing App Engine penetration, and fired off some searches to try and see how much attention the Google Platform-as-a-Service is getting. This is speculative at best, and fairly imprecise; but we did see some surprising things.

The trick here is that every Google App Engine site has a name that ends in appspot.com. You can call your new site whatever you want (mysite.com), but there’s a default name for it (mysite.appspot.com). And that makes it searchable.

appengine-searchFirst of all — how many are there? Well, according to Google’s own search, around 221,000. But what’s most interesting is that the top-ranked ones aren’t in North America. Many of them are Chinese, or Indian. Some of them are phishing sites (such as this one that is a pixel-for-pixel copy of Twitter — don’t log in.) Looks like the free trial and easy enrolment in the service make it appealing for certain markets.

Where’s the word “Appspot” being searched for? Once again, we turn to Google — this time their Insight for Search service — and see that China and Japan are where most of the discussion’s going on about “appspot”; for “appspot.com”, however, it looks like it’s North America.

googleinsightsappengineIt’s not clear that App Engine is getting the broad adoption of other cloud platforms, like Amazon. For one thing, it’s a Platform, not Infrastructure, model, which makes it less attractive for enterprises. There are concerns over portability, particularly for people who code to Google’s APIs for storage. But if these searches are anything to go by, it’s getting attention in some parts of the world.