At its Google I/O developer conference this week, Google has introduced Google App Engine support for PHP applications

Google announced several new cloud services and improvements to existing cloud offerings at its Google I/O developer conference on Wednesday.

One of the major developments is the general availability of Google Compute Engine, which was first introduced at last year’s Google I/O event. Google Compute Engine now offers pricing by the minute, following the drop of its instance prices by 4 percent in April.

Other announcements include the launch of its NoSQL database Cloud Datastore, which can be connected to any application via an HTML interface, and Google App Engine support for PHP applications, according to Ars Technica.

PHP support in App Engine comes shortly after Google acquired web application server startup Talaria, which at the time of the acquisition supported PHP only.

Though PHP in App Engine is a feature currently in limited preview, it may be something for shared web hosts to worry about once it is in general availability, Ars says.

“The addition of PHP to App Engine could be bad news for many shared hosting services,” Sean Gallagher, Ars’ IT editor says. “Small PHP websites could be run virtually for free in Google’s cloud without service level agreements—the Cloud SQL backend, while free until June, could cost a few dollars a month for low-volume sites.”

Public cloud has been positioned as a threat to shared hosting for as long as it has existed and for some of the more basic hosting needs, free and inexpensive services from Google and others have likely captured at least some of those hosting clients. To Ars’ point, there is already a lot of existing hosting business is built atop PHP, including WordPress.

“Competitive threats are always relevant but Google’s move should not be overstated. The typical shared hosting customer is looking for a different type of user and service experience and they don’t often find that with Google or Amazon,” Philbert Shih, managing director, Structure Research tells the WHIR. “Having said that, there is definitely a market opportunity for shared hosters to enable more cloud-like capabilities into their hosting services to help mitigate the impact from massive-scale cloud services.”

Rich Miller at Data Center Knowledge said that it could also be possible that Google Compute Engine may eventually create an opportunity for third parties to build their shared hosting operations atop of Google’s infrastructure.

Still, as Google continues to focus on developer needs, Compute Engine could pose more of a threat to those hosts that focus on developer customers, rather than consumer hosting. To that end, this week Rackspace introduced special support packages for its developer customers, with support for PHP and other popular programming languages.

As Ars points out, Google continues to build a one-stop shop for developers, with an advantage in the mobile app development space in particular because of its integration of its cloud services with Android development tools.

Do you think Google’s cloud services have the potential to change or threaten shared hosting services?
What Google App Engine PHP Support Means for Shared Hosts