One of the most interesting pieces of the new Google App Engine is the identity piece.
I quote from The Users API on the Google App Engine site:
Google App Engine features integration with Google Accounts: Applications can have users sign in using their Google accounts, and know who is using the application during a session. With Google Accounts, your users can get into your application sooner by not having to create a new account, and your application can personalize the user experience without managing its own login system.
... and now you’re a sharecropper on the Google plantation.
What a devil’s bargain; Google will make your identity pain go away and qualify a high proportion of the world’s Internet users to use your app. But you’re gonna be on the plantation forever; deal with it.
Dana Gardner has an interesting angle on this: Gangsta cloud wars could pivot on the traffic-driving power of Google and Microsoft/Yahoo.
I have no idea, just totally no idea, how this is going to play out.
By way of contrast, read Garrick Van Buren’s Free & Open Is Its Own Lock-in.
[Update: Several people I respect have given me a hard time for using what they said were racially-charged metaphors. So I’ve re-written slightly.]