AWS, Cloud Computing, Google Cloud (GCP)

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Comparing Google Cloud Pub/Sub and Amazon SNS for Cloud Messaging


In the dynamic landscape of cloud services, real-time communication and event-driven architectures have become indispensable for modern applications. Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) stand at the forefront of cloud computing, offering robust messaging solutions: Google Cloud Pub/Sub and Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS). In this blog, we will explore a detailed comparison of these messaging services, exploring their features, capabilities, and use cases, and help you make an informed decision based on your requirements.

Google Cloud Pub/Sub

Google Cloud Pub/Sub is a fully managed messaging service designed for building scalable, event-driven applications. It employs a publish-subscribe model, where publishers send messages to topics, and subscribers receive messages from those topics asynchronously. Google Cloud Pub/Sub facilitates communication between various components of an application and enables real-time data streaming.

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Amazon SNS

Amazon SNS is a flexible and fully managed messaging service within AWS. It supports multiple communication protocols, including SMS, email, and HTTP/S, making it suitable for broadcasting messages to many subscribers. Amazon SNS allows publishers to send messages to topics and then distribute them to subscribers.

Comparison of Google Cloud Pub/Sub and Amazon SNS

  1. Messaging Models:
  • Google Cloud Pub/Sub: Offers a Publish-Subscribe model where publishers send messages to topics, and subscribers receive messages from subscriptions to those topics. It also supports the concept of “acknowledgments” for message reliability.
  • Amazon SNS: Also offers a Publish-Subscribe model, where messages are published to topics and delivered to all subscribers. However, it doesn’t have the concept of message acknowledgments natively.

2. Protocols Supported:

  • Google Cloud Pub/Sub: Supports HTTP/HTTPS and gRPC for message publishing and subscription management.
  • Amazon SNS: Supports multiple protocols, including HTTP/HTTPS, email, SMS, application protocols (like Amazon Lambda, Amazon SQS, HTTP/S), and more.

3. Message Filtering:

  • Google Cloud Pub/Sub: Provides filtering at the subscription level using subscription filters, which allow subscribers to specify which messages they are interested in based on attributes.
  • Amazon SNS: Offers subscription filtering based on message attributes, but the filtering capability is not as fine-grained as in Google Cloud Pub/Sub.

4. Pricing:

  • Google Cloud Pub/Sub: Pricing is based on the number of messages published and delivered and the amount of data transferred. There are free tier options.
  • Amazon SNS: Pricing is based on the number of messages published and delivered, with separate pricing for different communication protocols. A free tier is also available.

5. Integration with Other Services:

  • Google Cloud Pub/Sub: Integrates well with other Google Cloud services, making it a good choice if you already use GCP. It can be used with Google Cloud Functions, Google Dataflow, and Google BigQuery.
  • Amazon SNS: Integrates seamlessly with other AWS services, particularly those that follow the AWS event-driven architecture. It works well with AWS Lambda, Amazon SQS, and more.

6. Message Delivery Guarantees:

  • Google Cloud Pub/Sub: Offers at least one message delivery guarantee, meaning messages will be delivered to subscribers, but duplicates might occur if the acknowledgment process isn’t properly managed.
  • Amazon SNS: Guarantees best-effort message delivery, which means there’s a possibility of message loss, and doesn’t guarantee strict order of messages.

7. Security and Access Control:

  • Google Cloud Pub/Sub: Offers fine-grained IAM roles and permissions for controlling access to topics and subscriptions.
  • Amazon SNS: Provides access control through AWS IAM policies, allowing you to control who can create and manage topics and subscriptions.

8. Global Availability:

  • Google Cloud Pub/Sub: Available in multiple Google Cloud regions.
  • Amazon SNS: Available in multiple AWS regions.

9. Dead Letter Queues:

  • Google Cloud Pub/Sub: Offers Dead Letter Queues (DLQs) for handling undeliverable messages. If a message fails to be delivered a certain number of times, you can set up a DLQ to capture these messages for later analysis.
  • Amazon SNS: Offers dead letter queues through integration with Amazon SQS. Amazon SNS does not have built-in support for Dead Letter Queues. Handling undeliverable messages may require additional custom logic on the subscriber side.

10. Message Retention:

  • Google Cloud Pub/Sub: Allows you to set a message retention duration for a topic, determining how long messages are kept in the topic, even if no subscribers are present. Messages are retained for seven days.
  • Amazon SNS: Messages are not retained by Amazon SNS, and it does not provide direct control over message retention. It may be lost if a subscriber cannot receive a message when it’s published. Messages are delivered to active subscribers but are not retained if there are no subscribers.

Use Cases

Google Cloud Pub/Sub Use Cases:

  • Real-time Data Processing: Google Cloud Pub/Sub is ideal for applications that require real-time event processing, such as IoT data ingestion and log streaming.
  • Microservices Communication: It facilitates communication between microservices in a distributed architecture, enabling seamless interactions.
  • Application Integration: Google Cloud Pub/Sub connects various components of an application, allowing them to exchange information and maintain synchronization.

Amazon SNS Use Cases:

  • Broadcast Notifications: Amazon SNS shines when applications need to broadcast messages to multiple subscribers across different platforms and communication channels.
  • Alerting and Monitoring: It’s suitable for sending alerts, notifications, and updates to users or administrators for monitoring purposes.
  • Mobile and Web Push Notifications: Amazon SNS is commonly used to send push notifications to mobile devices and web applications.


The choice between Google Cloud Pub/Sub and Amazon SNS depends on your existing cloud environment, messaging needs, integration preferences, and budget considerations. Google Cloud Pub/Sub excels in real-time event processing and microservices communication. Amazon SNS’s flexibility and multi-protocol support make it attractive for broadcasting messages across multiple protocols and platforms.

You can select the messaging service that aligns with your application’s goals and delivers a seamless communication experience by evaluating your specific requirements.

Drop a query if you have any questions regarding Google Cloud Pub/Sub and Amazon SNS and we will get back to you quickly.

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1. What are the main differences between Google Cloud Pub/Sub and Amazon SNS regarding features?

ANS: – Google Cloud Pub/Sub offers more advanced complex event routing and filtering features. It supports topics, subscriptions, and push/pull delivery models. Amazon SNS, on the other hand, is simpler and focuses on pub/sub messaging with support for topics and subscriptions but lacks advanced filtering capabilities compared to Google Cloud Pub/Sub.

2. How do the pricing models of Google Cloud Pub/Sub and Amazon SNS compare?

ANS: – Both services offer pay-as-you-go pricing models. However, it’s essential to review the pricing details carefully, as specific usage patterns, such as the number of messages, message sizes, and delivery endpoints, can impact costs differently in each service. It’s recommended to consult the respective pricing documentation for accurate cost estimation.

WRITTEN BY Rajeshwari B Mathapati

Rajeshwari B Mathapati is working as a Research Associate (WAR and Media Services) at CloudThat. She is Google Cloud Associate certified. She is interested in learning new technologies and writing technical blogs.



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