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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Israel is a country in which life is rarely dull. Many Israelis read or listen to the news several times a day, often from leading broadcaster Channel 2 News. Channel 2 has responded with the development of a mobile app, to which it continuously streams its news broadcasts. In November 2012, events in Israel led to a peak in app usage. This led to availability issues, which persisted despite servers being added during the crisis.

To cope with such unexpected peaks in traffic, Channel 2 News decided to migrate the infrastructure for its mobile app to Google Cloud Platform. To find out more about the process and the results of the migration, read the case study here.

-Posted by Ori Weinroth, Product Marketing Manager

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At the first Google Cloud Platform Live, developers told us that they were inspired to be surrounded by hundreds of their peers using Cloud Platform technology to turn their ideas into reality. They had the opportunity to meet Googlers who designed and built the products they use and hear, firsthand, about our vision for cloud computing. On November 4, Brian Stevens, who recently joined as Vice President of Product Management for Cloud Platform, and I will outline our next steps for Cloud at the second Google Cloud Platform Live.

We’ll share how Docker and Kubernetes can complement VMs as well as how our flexible PaaS solution provides workload portability and ease of use. We will give a sneak peek at the future of our mobile services, making it easier than ever for you to build a Cloud-backed mobile app. We’ll also be talking about how you can get useful insights from ever growing data.

For those who get to join us in person, we will have a Partner Sandbox, featuring MongoDB, Datastax, Fastly, RedHat, SaltStack, Tableau and Bitnami where you can see first hand the work they are doing with Google. And, just announced, an after-party to celebrate the day’s events.

Finally, we just released a new list of speakers, including the engineers, product managers, and developer advocates who build the products you know and love. You can see the full list of speakers at cloud.google.com/LIVE - and come back to see updates between now and the event.

Click here to register. See you on November 4!


- Posted by Greg Demichillie, Director

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mCASH, a payment provider located in Norway, relies on Google App Engine to build a resilient payment system for users that can handle the incredible rate of growth of mobile transactions.

As more consumers switch from cards to mobile, mCASH anticipates large-scale volume to their virtual bank, where a customer can send and receive money instantly, pay bills, view transactions, and even obtain instant credit.

“With App Engine, we can go from ten transactions a second to thousands a second without a hiccup. Expanding across borders into new markets becomes vastly more tractable. It scales beautifully,” notes founder and CEO Daniel Döderlein.

To learn more about their use of Google Cloud Platform and subsequent results for their business, read the case study here.

-Posted by Ori Weinroth, Product Marketing Manager

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In an effort to add transparency, speed and simplicity to our release process, Google Cloud Platform will align our own release definitions and process with how our developers manage their projects. We are eliminating the confusing (and Google-specific) “trusted tester,” “limited preview” and “preview” phases and replacing them with simple Alpha and Beta releases. These align more closely with standard software practices for pre-release products.

Going forward, all products will be pre-released in Alpha format for testing by a select group of customers, and after passing this phase, will be released to Beta testing. Beta products are available publicly to all customers but will not have SLAs and full support until cleared to General Availability. Timing for each phase varies by product and will be announced accordingly.

Some more precise definitions:

Alpha
Alpha is a limited availability test for releases before they are cleared for widespread use. By alpha, all significant design issues are resolved and we are simply verifying functionality. For Alpha, customers need to apply for access, agree to applicable terms and get their projects whitelisted. Alpha releases don’t have to be feature complete, no SLAs are provided and there are no technical support obligations, but they will be far enough along that customers can actually use them in test environments or for limited-use tests -- just like they would in normal production cases.

Beta
You will mostly only hear about products when they’re released in Beta stage. This means you can now use it openly without access controls. However, beta products will not have an SLA or technical support obligations. Charges may be waived in some cases. Products will be complete from a feature perspective, but may have some open outstanding issues. Beta releases are suitable for limited production use cases, though customers should be aware that this is pre-release software and full, SLA-bound use is not encouraged until General Availability (GA).

Along with the introduction of Alpha and Beta, we are renaming the “Trusted Tester” program, which is designed to give a small group of customers tight integration to our design process during early stages of development, the “Early Access Program" (or EAP). Most products won’t go through this phase, but for certain programs where complexity and breadth of design are significant, we will continue to seek tight integration and feedback from a select group of customers.

These new program names roll out immediately -- we look forward to your participation and your help in making Google Cloud Platform better with each new release!

--Posted by Tom Kershaw, Product Management Director