I’ve been playing a bit with the Google App Engine the past few nights. It’s one of the newest toys out of Google, and it could very well be a very important piece of infrastructure to many web developers trying to create a dotcom adventure.
Google App Engine (once they let you in) allows you to run web applications of google’s server infrastructure. With the Google App Engine you can write applications (and run these of your local machine (Mac, Linux or Windows) and even use data storage in your applications. Currently applications can only be written in Python, but Google promises support for other languages later. Once approved by Google and your application is ready for prime time, you simple deploy it, and it runs of Googles Servers.
You can - if you like - use your own domain and with half a gigabyte storage and 5 million page views in the free edition, it will get you pretty far.
I haven’t been approved by Google yet, so I can’t deploy my applications, but others have, and one of the first examples is Vorby: Movie Quotes. It looks like yet-another-database-powered-website, and I guess that is a major part of the point with Google App Engine - You can make most database-backed web applications with it and not needing to spend money on hosting and infrastructure until you have millions of page views and a revenue stream to support the site.