I went to Google Developer Day 2008 in Yokohama Japan yesterday. The keynote speech was pretty much the exact same info as was given at the keynote at Google I/O where Google announced their direction, moving forward the web as a platform.
As with the Google I/O keynote it was mentioned how Google feels that Computing power and accessability have kind of flip-flopped over the years. In the mainframe era you had computing power but no accessability, in the PC era you had accessability but lost relative computing power, and now in the web era we are getting back computing power in the form of cloud computing but we are loosing accessablity to those resources. They plan on fixing this with the, so called, three Cs. Client, Connectablity and Cloud.
The first refers to the browser, so Google wants to make the browser richer in order to give us accessability to the computing power that they can provide. They are doing this with Google Gears and some other handy browser plugins.
Connectability refers to allowing everyone equal access to resources and making sure every one can connect. This means making sure that internet lines are fast, airwaves are open etc. They see mobiles as big in the future so they hope to help the connectability problem with Android, their free, open operating system for mobiles.
Cloud refers to their vast data centers. They hope to give access to these resources through products like Appengine where developers can access the vast resources and scalability that Google's data centers provide.
In the afternoon I attended the Appengine Hackathon which was presided over by Brett Slatkin, who is none other than the guy in the Appengine demo video. It was interesting because from the e-mails I recieved about the event, I figured it would be in Japanese but it ended up being entirely in English. Many of the Japanese folks had trouble following along so I tried to help where I could.
In the beginning, Brett talked about Appengine and used an example wiki as a demo app. Then we went into coding our projects. At the end some folks showed off their applications. Despite the language barriers many folks came up with some really original, and cool ideas. The first was created by a Google engineer, who said he would set the bar low but ended up with one of the better applications. His app read calandar events from RSS and allowed users to add comments to it. He also implemented memcache support. There was an application with the idea to attach pictures based on the hostility/mood level of a chat message or Twitter tweet. There was a social bookmarking app, and an app to allow live translating of a django application.
For what it's worth I presented my application which I hope to make into a workable form application builder. I haven't uploaded it yet so you'll have to make do with my first Appengine application, a prefix calculator with a simple rest api.
Afterwards I went out to dinner with a number of folks who participated in the Hackathon. It turned out to be a lot of fun and I made a lot of new friends many of whom are now in my twitter contacts All in all a hugely satisfying experience.