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Google's instance-hour is process-instance-hour. The current GAE Python can only serve one web request by one process. Multiple web requests coming in would spin up multiple processes. Besides the CPU, Google charges the app while the process is waiting for IO, like waiting for receiving/sending to the browser.

But measuring process-instance-hour is misleading. In a typical web box, spinning up an extra process takes very little resource since most process memory are shared with the parent process, and most web apps are IO bound, like waiting for network/file/DB, idling taking little CPU. In a server box, many processes can be crammed in (like the shared hosting box). But Google counts those duplicate processes as separate ones and charge the idle time these processes take. That's why you see the outrageous bill.

What's more insane is that Google charges the process-instance-hour like a machine-instance-hour. GAE charges $0.08/hr for process-instance-hour while AWS charges $0.02 to $0.08/hr for the whole machine.

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