One of the Google App engine applications made available to developers, HuddleChat, is allegedly similar to another program known as Campfire, a real-time chat application form 37Signals LLC.
“We’re disappointed that they stooped so low to basically copy it feature for feature, layout for layout,” Jason Fried, founder of 37Signals, said. “We thought that would be beneath Google, but maybe it’s time to reevaluate what they stand for.”
Google has not officially addressed the issue but someone posing as the Google App Engine wrote a post on HuddleChat, “Hi, a couple of our colleagues wrote Huddle Chat in their spare time as a sample application for other developers to demonstrate the power and flexibility of Google App Engine. We’ve heard some complaints from the developer community about it and because of that we’ve decided to take it down. If you’d like to see more sample applications written on Google App Engine please check out our documentation and our App Gallery.” The post was signed “The Google App Engine Team.”
Google launched the preview of its App Engine on Monday to demonstrate ways for developers to run their Web applications on Google’s infrastructure. The development environment includes dynamic Web serving, persistent storage, automatic scaling and load-balancing Google APIs for authenticating users and sending e-mail.
Richard MacManus from ReadWriteWeb noted that the questions surrounding HuddleChat amounted to a “storm in a teacup” because HuddleChat was supposed to be a demo application on how developers can create applications using Google’s App Engine.
“It was built internally at Google after all, and wasn’t meant to be an official Google product that competed with 37Signals’ Campfire,” Richard MacManus said. “More than that though, I’d suggest that Google just doesn’t want the latest blogtroversy to get out of hand.”
Following the Apps Engine preview on Monday, Kevin Gibbs, a tech lead for Google App Engine, wrote on the company’s corporate blog, “In the same way that Blogger made it easy to create a blog, Google App Engine is designed from the ground up to make it easy to create and run web applications.”
The tool was available free to the first 10,000 developers that signed up during a preview release. The App Engine Web site now cautions that space is limited and “for now you’ll have to wait.”