We want to make creating and scaling apps online easier than ever, so simplification was the name of the game for Google Cloud Platform in October. In case you missed it, here’s the scoop from the last month.

Welcome Firebase!
We welcomed Firebase to the Cloud Platform family in October in our efforts to provide developers the best experience to build as easily as possible. We’ll be demonstrating the new features at Google Cloud Platform Live next week, but in the meantime, read our welcome note and future plans.

Local SSD goes beta
Following our announcement in June at Google I/O, we’re taking the next step in local SSD for Google Compute Engine and bringing it to open beta. The local SSD feature has five key characteristics including: high performance and low latency, competitive pricing, no planned downtime, configuration flexibility, and encryption. Check out our extended blog post and product documentation to learn more.

The price is right, and simple
We started October with across-the-board price cuts on Compute Engine at Atmosphere Live. Following Moore’s Law, we cut prices by about 10% for all instance types. And because no one wants to spend time managing their billing information when they could be building the app of the future, we simplified the process of paying for Google Cloud Platform.

More Google Cloud Platform Live details
It’s just 4 days until Google Cloud Platform Live on November 4th. Though we’re sold out for seats in San Francisco and our watch-event in New York City, join in on the livestream and conversation on Google+Twitter and elsewhere using #GCPLive.

From the department of semantics
We’re speeding our release process by aligning our phases with industry standard definitions that match how our developers manage their own projects. From now on, there will be no more “trusted tester,” “limited preview” and “preview” phases, just Alpha and Beta. For more details on the phases and our reasoning, read our blog post about it.

On the road again
October saw the completion of an epic Roadshow series, covering 35 cities worldwide and reaching nearly 4,500 developers from around the globe. Read our recap and relive the talks.

Great new customers
From Tel Aviv to Tokyo, we’re trying to enable developers around the world to deploy and scale in a flash. mCASH, a payment provider in Norway, uses App Engine to handle the manic growth of mobile transactions. Channel 2 News in Israel migrated its mobile app to Cloud Platform to cope with unexpected peaks in traffic. And Japan’s Medical Network Systems powers their remote-diagnosis system with Cloud Platform.

Stay tuned for next month’s announcements. Meantime, the Google Cloud Platform team wishes you all a Happy Halloween (timelapse-style)!

-- Posted by Charlene Lee, Product Marketing Manager

Google Cloud Platform Live is less than one week away, and we now have sold out our venue in San Francisco and our watch event in New York City.

We still want you to be able to join us for the fun and news - including our keynote and breakout session- so we have a livestream set up so you can pick the sessions you want to join and will be live-tweeting the entire event. Make sure to catch us on Twitter and Google+ using #GCPLive to hear updates as they’re announced and to talk to us directly.

Plan ahead to see what to tune in for:
Can’t wait to see you all in San Francisco, New York City, or on social media.

--Posted by Charlene Lee, Product Marketing Manager

At Google I/O in June, we announced a trusted tester program for the local SSD product for Google Compute Engine. Today, we’re taking the next step and bringing local SSD to open beta. Now all Compute Engine customers will have a cost effective way to serve massive amounts of IO, making the platform an ideal place to run:
    • Large databases backing internet-scale applications
    • Intensive data processing applications

The local SSD feature lets customers attach from 1 to 4 x 375 GB SSD partitions to any full core VM and have dedicated use of those partitions. It provides higher IO than Persistent Disk but does not have any redundancy. This is ideal for highly demanding applications that provide their own replication such as many modern databases and Hadoop, as well as for scratch space for intense computational applications.

The local SSD feature has five key characteristics:

High performance and low latency
Performance scales linearly from 1 to 4 partitions. The full 4 partitions can execute up to 680,000 random 4K read IOPS and 360,000 random 4K write IOPS. This is 8x more write IOPS/GB and 15x more read IOPS/GB than SSD Persistent Disk.

Competitive pricing
At $0.218/GB/month, local SSD is very competitively priced. For those used to buying local SSD attached to VMs, this comes to $0.0003/GB/hour.

No planned downtime
Local SSD data will not be lost when Google does datacenter maintenance, even without replication or redundancy. We will use our live migration technology to move your VMs along with their local SSD to a new machine in advance of any planned maintenance, so your applications are not disrupted and your data is not lost.

Configuration flexibility
There are no special instance types needed to use local SSD. You can attach 1 to 4 local SSD partitions to any full core VM. You can scale up and down CPU/memory and CPU as you need and are not locked into predefined ratios.

Local SSD is always encrypted for your protection.

There is product documentation available so you can learn more about local SSD. We love hearing from you, so let us know how things are working either through our technical support, the Google Compute Engine Discussion mailing list or the Google Compute Engine Stack Overflow forum. Happy computing!

-Posted by Jay Judkowitz, Senior Product Manager

We just wrapped up the Google Cloud Platform Roadshows, a series of developer events in 35 cities worldwide, where we reached nearly 4,500 developers spanning the globe, from Texas to Tel Aviv to Tokyo.

Now that the series is finished, we wanted to thank everyone for coming and share with you the slides and all our talks recorded live from our New York City event:

The Roadshow team sends huge thanks to everyone who attended and looks forward to seeing you next year. We'd love to hear from you in the meantime:

-Posted by Tom Van Waardhuizen, Program Manager

Today we extend a warm welcome to Firebase, who is joining the Google Cloud Platform team. Firebase makes it very easy for developers to build mobile and web apps that store and sync data in realtime.

Mobile is one of the fastest-growing categories of app development, but it’s also still too hard for most developers. With Firebase, developers are able to easily sync data across web and mobile apps without having to manage connections or write complex sync logic. Firebase makes it easy to build applications that work offline and has full-featured libraries for all major web and mobile platforms, including Android and iOS.

By combining Firebase with Google Cloud Platform, we’ll be able to build the best end-to-end platform for mobile application development. If you’re already a Firebase developer, you’ll start seeing improvements right away and if you’re a Google Cloud Platform customer, you’ll find it even easier to create great mobile and web apps. The entire Firebase team is joining Google and, under the leadership of Firebase co-founders James Tamplin and Andrew Lee, will be working hard to bring you great new features. Not only will the products you already love continue to get better, but you’ll also gain access to the full power of Google Cloud Platform.

At Google Cloud Platform Live on November 4, we’ll be demonstrating new Firebase features and integrations with Cloud Platform. You can join us there in person or you can register to stream online for free.

If you are looking for more info check out the Firebase blog. We can’t wait to see what applications you build!

-Posted by Greg DeMichillie, Director of Product Management

Cross-posted on the Google for Work blog.

Japan faces a critical shortage of radiologists. Although major hospitals are well equipped to conduct scans, the scarcity of experts to read them and give patients their diagnoses means that people, especially those in rural areas, often have to wait a long time to discover their results. This can have tragic consequences for people with serious conditions.

To address this shortage and help people get accurate diagnoses faster, Medical Network Systems Inc. (MNES) in Hiroshima started running a remote diagnosis service in 2000. Rather than waiting for patients to come to hospitals, we bring the radiology equipment to them. This teleradiology service has helped combat the challenge of getting scanning technology to people in remote areas; however, we are still short on specialists that can read the scans, and we wanted to find ways to give access to patients in areas without specialists.

Last year, our team started using Google Cloud Platform to power our remote-diagnosis systems. Patients used to be given a hard copy of their scan to take to a doctor or specialist. Moving the process to the cloud speeds everything up. All of our buses are equipped with CT scanning machines, so our technicians upload images and scans right from the bus. Specialists can then log into the system from wherever they’re working and see the scans and diagnose the patient remotely.

Reading scans is a very specialized process. Radiologists must examine lots of images and scans in a very particular sequence, and it’s important that this process isn’t laggy or slow. One of the benefits of using Google’s services is that they can handle massive volumes of information. Google App Engine processes the images and data in the right sequence and enables us to cross reference patient inputs with existing radiographic and pathological information.

Instead of waiting for a few days or a week for a diagnosis, which was the usual turnaround for our teleradiology service, patients get their results within a few hours. And it’s not just our patients benefiting from remote diagnosis; enabling our radiologists to work from anywhere has meant that many of our female specialists are able to stay in the workforce — diagnosing scans while working from home and taking care of their kids. With so few radiologists in Japan, this flexibility helps us keep skilled technicians in the workforce.

We’re optimistic about the potential for cloud-based technology to enrich our understanding of pathological issues and believe it signals a new chapter for the healthcare industry by removing geographical barriers between patients and doctors.

- Posted by Dr. Naoyuki Kitamura, CEO, Japan’s Medical Network Systems Inc.

We know that developers don’t want to spend time managing their billing information so we’ve added a couple of useful features to make managing your billing easier and less time consuming.

First, you’re now able to consolidate multiple projects and pay for them under a single billing account. This means you no longer have to manage and maintain billing information in multiple places. It also lets you quickly and easily set up new projects without having to re-enter your billing details.

Consolidate multiple projects into a single billing account

Second, we know that sometimes you want another person (e.g. your accountant) to have access to your billing information but don’t want to grant them ownership permissions on your projects. You can now invite additional billing administrators from the Developers Console who can view and manage your billing details but are not automatically project owners.

Add additional billing administrators

With these two changes, you can spend time less on billing and more time doing the work you care about.

-Posted by Dan Stokeley, Product Manager