Around the Campfire with Google App Engine - Not So Fast My Friend
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I already mentioned the fact that users must write all of their code using the Python language. But what about anyone with an existing project that wants to join App Engine? They will either have to port it or write it from scratch. It becomes even more difficult for those using traditional relational databases. Then there's the fact that you're stuck on Google's platform. Removing all your code and data after you've already established an application and stored all your data within their data store and moving it to your own servers would prove to be a most troublesome transition.
And if your application all of a sudden becomes extremely popular, you'll be begging for a way out. But no one will be willing to purchase your idea because the price to transfer the code out of Google will be too high. All the while, you're stuck paying Google each month yourself. Your best bet will probably be to sell the idea to Google, which may be what Google had in mind all along. You really have to do your research and compare it to a more loosely-coupled service, like Amazon, at least for now.
That brings me to another point: Google's broader purpose. They've been in the news on and off lately in items that cover how much user data they have and how long they will keep it. And there is concern that they will harbor even more information through App Engine and use it to grow their advertising enterprise to godlike proportions, if it's not that size already. Here's what David Young, CEO of Joyent, another cloud infrastructure provider, had to say:
If I were Google, I would buy every big Web application, such as Six Apart and WordPress, out there to get access to click stream and user data as people move across the Web. I think that is what App Engine is all about.
Clearly Google thinks they can capitalize on this growing trend of cloud-based platforms. The question is: will Google get caught up in the potential revenue and leave the developer behind? Judging by the recent success they've had monetizing the data from their existing applications, I'm guessing not.
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