“In many ways Google I/O is the first, and to date, largest developer conference for the Internet. The attendance was impressive - over 3,000 developers were at San Francisco's Moscone Center to attend sessions covering a range of issues over two days," says Madan Sheina, Principal Analyst at Ovum.
With ever increasing numbers of applications being developed for the Web, traditional desktop software companies such as Microsoft, are either living in denial or racing to develop strategies to take their software online.
This itself has presented traditional software developers with a dilemma: do they continue to focus on developing for their traditional market (how can you ignore Microsoft) or they boldly go where they've never gone before - into the Cloud.
"Google firmly believes that the Web has won through as the future platform for application development," says Ovum's Sheina.
"The company is now looking to woo developers to the Google Cloud and at the same time make the Web a better place by adding more and more functions to it. To achieve this Google wants to make its Cloud more accessible, keep connectivity to that Cloud pervasive, and make the Cloud's primary client the Web browser more powerful.”
“In other words it wants to make Web browsers as, if not more, powerful and rich in functionality as its desktop sibling. That's easier said than done and means transforming Web browsers from just dumb information search and retrieval terminals to highly interactive application interfaces that deliver new levels of utility to end users,” continued Sheina.
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While the number of Cloud applications are growing faster than a snowball rolling down a steep hill, applications developers need to adjust to the new medium.
"For starters it is inviting developers to mash-up Google services in their own applications," says Sheina.
"It's opening up a variety of Google APIs for content, search, authentication and so on that allow third-party developers to programmatically access Google services (Gmail, Docs, Maps, Search, Picasa, YouTube etc) from the Cloud in their own mash-up applications.
"These developers aren't just keen to build 'cool' Web applications for the sake of 'coolness'; they also have an eye on tapping into Google's billion-dollar online advertising revenue stream. Google likes to separate its Web development technologies from its advertising. But the two are inextricably linked.
"Google's monetization strategy is simple. Invest in advancement of the Web by allowing users to do more on the Internet. That makes the Web a much bigger market for Google to monetize services like search. For that reason we believe that Google sees a pile of money in its Web application development efforts downstream, even though for the time being it is focused on getting developers to build browser-based Web applications to thicken up its Cloud.”
So what's next from Google? Please read on to page 3
As Ovum's analyst explains:
“Gears works by persistently storing, synchronizing and manipulating data locally in the browser, effectively allowing online applications to function offline. Next it unveiled a new 'rent-a-Cloud' pricing for its App Engine software that allows you to build Web applications that run on Google's Cloud infrastructure that is based on CPU use per hour - a model that sounds very similar to Amazon.com's Web services.”
"Finally, Google also showcased interesting Web 2.0-like application development technologies for single sign-on for the Web (OpenID), universal authorization (OAuth) and a social network development 'standard' (Open Social). These technologies promise to connect Web pages, applications and service to the 'sticky' social Web.”
"These diverse tools and technologies might seem loosely unintegrated and targeted at different areas. In fact they're all cogs and wheels of a more meaningfully connected Web that hosts Google Web services powered by the Google App Engine. Importantly some of these Web services and applications aren't written just by Google, but by an entire market of independent developers."