Google Cloud Shell is a hosted development environment in Google Cloud Platform, consisting of a durable home directory, an ephemeral VM instance with the Google Cloud SDK and application default credentials pre-installed, and both a shell environment as well as an Eclipse Orion IDE instance, making it easy to develop for Cloud Platform.
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Pro VM is always up-to-date, making it more secure
Because the VM image is managed by Google and either provided entirely by Google or configured by a Dockerfile (which is regularly rebuilt), packages are far more likely to be kept up-to-date with the last patches and security fixes compared with Cloud IDEs that give you your own VM and make you, yourself, in charge of applying updates.
Pro Supports custom software packages via a Dockerfile configuring the Cloud Shell image
With Cloud Shell custom environments (an early access feature), it is possible to specify a "Dockerfile" to specify a custom VM image to use for the Cloud Shell environment. This Dockerfile can be used to install packages with apt-get, npm, pip, etc. globally.
Pro Already has Google Cloud SDK and other tooling installed
Thus eliminating a setup step for interacting with Google Cloud.
Pro Already provisioned with Google Application Default Credentials
This makes it easier to run/test code that interacts with Google APIs.
Pro Includes Eclipse Orion IDE already configured
Eclipse Orion can be difficult to setup/configure if creating a do-it-yourself VM running Eclipse. This makes it easier to have a working IDE.
Google Cloud Shell is free for Google Cloud Platform customers.
Pro Supports multiple open files at the same time
One can split the screen and edit two files at once, making it easy to edit one file while consulting the contents of some other file.
Pro Supports editor and terminal in the same screen
This makes it easy to run commands while editing files at the same time.
Pro Supports "Boost Mode"
Allowing you to provision a more powerful instance when necessary.
Con Ephemeral Disk
Software installed globally as root (such as via "sudo apt-get install..." ) can be lost when restarting Cloud Shell; any software that needs to be persistent has to be installed in the user directory (or made part of the Docker image for the custom Cloud Shell image).
Con Minimal UI
Cloud Shell's editor is not as featureful as some alternatives.