Google App Engine appears to be Google’s answer to Amazon’s web services—a simple, highly scalable development and deployment platform for web apps that need to scale. It’s an interesting offering that takes a slightly different tack from Amazon, with the requirement to build an app as a fully integrated stack (not to mention, the application needs to be in Python, at least for the first iteration). But I like it nonetheless, especially at the entry pricing: as Dave Winer pointed out in a prescient piece last week, web services should be free at the low-bandwidth end of things; it’s a great way to build an ecosystem. Having one player in the cloud business is an experiment. Two makes it competitive, and that means that the offerings for developers will only get better and better.
It begs the question, of course, of when Redmond will wake up and realize that the last remnants of its Old Republic are being swept away.
Congrats to Google product manager and Sloanie Tom Stocky, who seems to be at the center of a lot of good things from Google these days.