Cloud computing is already considered as the next big thing as Software as a Service become a mainstream feature of everyday life.
Google's latest newcomer, the Google App Engine, marks the search engine's first step into offering a one stop shop for developers.
In effect, the GAE is a tool that enables developers to run their web applications on Google's infrastructure with the goal of making application development as frustration-free as possible.
Google has one of the most resilient and powerful architectures in the world which would make it easy for popular web apps to scale to millions of users if necessary.
The first 10,000 developers who will sign up to GAE will receive 500MB of storage with 200M megacyles of CPU power and 10GB worth of bandwidth per day, enough for 200000 million page views per day.
Should developers be capacity constrained, they will still be able to order more power, storage or bandwidth from Google.
Obviously, Google is aiming squarely at dislodging Amazon's EC2 environment as well as S2 storage and SimpleDB database, which have become the darlings of web application developers due to their sheer scalability and very affordable price.
However, they will be tempted by some of the features offered by GAE which are also used in house by Google, namely
* Dynamic webserving, with full support of common web technologies
* Persistent storage (powered by Bigtable and GFS with queries, sorting, and transactions)
* Automatic scaling and load balancing (server as you need)
* Google APIs for authenticating users and sending email (great for tapping into Google's library)
* Fully featured local development environment