Hot on the heels of this year’s Google I/O, Google App Engine 1.8.1 is now released. Below are some of the significant changes that are part of 1.8.1.

Search API
In 1.8.1 we’re moving the Search API to Preview. The Search API allows your application to perform Google-like searches over structured data. You can search across several different types of data (plain text, HTML, atom, numbers, dates, and geographic locations).

This Preview release is one step closer to General Availability (GA). Between now and then we will only be making slight modifications to the API and adding an SLA. Finally, as part of the Preview, we will begin charging for operations and storage. Pricing details can be found here. Note that prices may change between now and GA.

Source Push-to-Deploy
App Engine now supports deployment of Python and PHP applications via the Git tool. Once you complete the initial setup steps, you will be ready to deploy apps with the same ease with which you push code to a git repository:
% git push appengine master
If you’re interested in test-driving this feature, you can get started here.

Google Cloud Storage Client Library
To improve access to Google Cloud Storage from App Engine, we’re now announcing the Preview release of the Cloud Storage Client Library. This client library contains much of the functionality available in the Files API (Python | Java), but provides stronger integrity guarantees and a better overall developer experience. The Cloud Storage Files API (currently Experimental) and the Cloud Storage Client Library overlap significantly, so we plan to decommission the Files API in a future release. The Cloud Storage Client Library will be upgraded to GA in an upcoming App Engine release, so we strongly encourage developers to start making the move over the next few months.

Task Queues
Many developers have requested an API for enqueuing tasks in asynchronously and this is now available in 1.8.1. Developers can quickly add tasks to any Task Queue without blocking, allowing your applications to process requests more efficiently.

There are 2 significant Google Cloud Datastore changes in this release. First, we have improved performance by changing the Datastore default auto ID policy to use scattered IDs. This change will take effect for all versions of your app uploaded with the 1.8.1 SDK. Second, Python developers will be pleased to learn that the NDB library now supports ‘DISTINCT’ queries.

We covered a lot of new content at Google I/O last month, so check out the full session videos to see the latest across Google Cloud Platform.

The complete list of features and bug fixes for 1.8.1 can be found in our release notes. For App Engine coding questions and answers check us out on Stack Overflow, and for general discussion and feedback, find us on our Google Group.

-Posted by Chris Ramsdale, Product Manager