Go go go!

Google Go celebrates third birthday

Elliot Bentley

The young language has seen some ups and downs, but is still going strong three years on – at least inside Google.

own programming language, Go, turned three
years old
over the weekend. While the young language has seen
some up and downs, it’s met mild success – at least within Google,
who use it to serve Chrome downloads, scale YouTube’s MySQL and the
occasional homepage doodle.

In early 2010, Go was
TIOBE’s ‘Programming Language Of The Year Award’ for
capturing 1.25% of the market in just two months; but its progress
has stalled, and it now sits below Groovy in TIOBE’s language
index, outside of the top 50.

The team write that
they consider Go’s biggest achievement to be the
release of version 1
. “People who write Go 1 programs can now
be confident that their programs will continue to compile and run
without change, in many environments, on a time scale of years,”
they said. “As part of the Go 1 launch we spent months cleaning up the language and
to make it something that will age well.”

One of the biggest developments for the language has also been
integration into Google App Engine in
July 2011, placing it alongside Java and Python on Google’s own
cloud offerings. While it’s expected for Google to cross-promote
products in such a way, it does show some confidence in the future
of the language.

However, being relatively young, Go also faced the issue of
obscurity. Last month, a game funded through Kickstarter was
left high
and dry
after its lead programmers – both working in Go –
abandoned the project, leaving the remaining two staff struggling
to find (and pay) replacements. However, the story
appears to be ending happily
, with around thirty programmers
offering help to the newly open-sourced game.

Go is not the only language to emerge from Google HQ: there’s also
Dart, a client-side language
designed to take over from JavaScript. Dart has faced criticism
since its initial release in October 2011, but may yet become more
practical if
native support is added to Chrome

2013 should see the release of the next stable version of Go, 1.1,
which will mostly consist of under-the-hood improvements. However,
the team’s biggest challenge is expanding the Go crowd to beyond
Google (and ex-Google) staff.

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