The last few years when something new hits the tech blogosphere, I usually kick back and think while so many others scramble for position on Techmeme. I find that by doing this I can usually find the nugget that they’re all missing, assuming it’s an area I’m interested in, of course, and know something about.
So I’m still hanging back, but wanted to post a couple of thoughts about Google’s AppEngine announcement last night.
1. Amazon has a huge lead, and that lead is worth a lot. But Google’s presence is going to change how Amazon thinks about the market, and it’s good news for developers that they have competition. That means better deals for us. It already does, because as I predicted, and rationalized, Google’s offering is free, although the limits are pretty serious. (500MB of storage means you could do a calendar or a spreadsheet, but not an email app with enclosures, or an RSS storage app with enclosures. Data is big these days. How many megabytes is a code update from Apple?)
2. I’m really pissed at Microsoft. Why? They wasted billions on Vista when they should have been virtualizing Windows and making their developers’ investments apply to the net. I know it sounds outlandish, but it really isn’t. Amazon doesn’t offer EC2 for Windows, just Linux. And I’m stuck with two Windows boxes at my hosting company, hosting a dead fucking end. My bet on Microsoft in the late 90s just ran out of gas.
3. Now, what Google announced is really exciting! I’m not kidding. It’s even better than I hoped. Yes, it’s only Python, but IBM’s PC-DOS was only BASIC and Pascal when it first came out, and it didn’t matter. Yeah, I preferred C, but I coded in Pascal because that’s what you had to do to get an app running. What you’re going to see here that you’ve never seen before is shrinkwrap net apps that scale that can be deployed by civillians. That’s a mouthful, but that’s what’s coming. Why? Because here is a standardized platform that can be stamped out in the billions of units. Maybe Google can’t do it, but the perception is that they can. Who is willing to stand up and say Google hasn’t nailed scaling? What PCs did in the 80s, Google is doing now. PCs took the black magic out of owning a computer. Now Google is taking the black magic out of operating a scalable web app. Python is the new BASIC.
I mentioned #3 on 1/28 in this piece.