Google wants a faster Python. Unladen Swallow is one of the recent projects out of Google, which aims to produce a Python version at least 5x faster than CPython, the current implementation of Python. Note that Python has already seen multiple implementations, but this seems to be the first one wanting to make Python fast enough to replace C, atleast in some projects.
The project is taking care that it stays compatible with the CPython implementation, and is more of a branch of than a fork of the current implementation. However, I think the most challenging aspect will be handling concurrency to proactively make use of multiple cores:
In addition, we intend to remove the GIL and fix the state of multithreading in Python. We believe this is possible through the implementation of a more sophisticated GC system, something like IBM’s Recycler (Bacon et al, 2001).
The GIL has been a hot topic for discussions in the Python community. It will be interesting to see how such aspects get weaved into the faster Python.