Jordan Novet
February 9, 2016

The Google Cloud Platform, the public cloud infrastructure from Google that developers can use to build and run their own apps, last night released a fascinating service called Google Cloud Functions. The tool, which allows developers to set up functions that get triggered in response to certain events, is notable because it’s quite similar to the well-received Lambda service from public cloud market leader Amazon Web Services.

“Google Cloud Functions is a lightweight, event-based, asynchronous compute solution that allows you to create small, single-purpose functions that respond to cloud events without the need to manage a server or a runtime environment,” Google explained in the documentation for the new service, which carries an Alpha label. People interested in using the service must be granted access from Google after filling out a form.

Despite its potential value, Google didn’t do much to promote the launch — no blog post, no tweet.


Google Cloud Functions run as Node.js modules. As such, developers write them in good old JavaScript. These functions can be called, or triggered, when certain things happen in services like Google Cloud Storage — a new photo is uploaded to a photo-sharing app, for example — or Google Cloud Pub/Sub. The service can also work with webhooks. Generally speaking, then, the tool can speed up up development because programmers need to spend less time coming up with, deploying, and maintaining code that makes things happen under certain circumstances.

Pricing information for Cloud Functions is not available — after all, the service is still in Alpha.