Google sandbox is open for business

The App Engine is the featured API, with Open Social, Android, and Google Maps all now known quantities. Stocky called it "our inner DNA" although it's certain insiders know best how to code that DNA to proteins. "Everything here is an API."

Google I/O Event logo, San FranciscoÂ’s Moscone Center, May 28-29, 2008
The sandbox in this case is Google Code, which is holding its I/O event at San Francisco's Moscone Center today and tomorrow.

For two days Google's best and brightest will strut their stuff before 2,900 of their peers, speaking on five tracks -- AJAX, Web tools, social tools, geographic tools and mobile -- where the company hopes these peers can lead on to greater profit.

Before the event I chatted with two of them. Tom Stocky is director of product management for the App Engine Team. DeWitt Clinton is engineering manager for Google Code.

The App Engine is the featured API, with Open Social, Android, and Google Maps all now known quantities.

Stocky called it "our inner DNA" although it's certain insiders know best how to code that DNA to proteins. "Everything here is an API."

Everything is also oriented toward the Web. That's a trend from the desktop era Stocky thinks will eventually find its way onto mobile platforms.

"There's still an arena where developers are choosing among platforms, but browsers based on webkits are becoming increasingly powerful, which means you can write a browser that runs across all platforms."

Whether Android or LiMo machines dominate matters less to Google than what common interfaces they use for web applications, he said.

Clinton agreed that the key to faster development is building from a shared, open source base.

"Nothing like the web toolkit has existed before, nor Gears or the Android platform. These are things that are released as open source first, so rather than starting from scratch you can build on something that's open."

And if Google's the brand behind these open source projects it becomes just as vital to web applications as Microsoft was to the desktop. But it would be cynical for me to say it that way.

DeWitt Clinton of Erie Canal fame
Say it Clinton's way instead.  "This is about making developers touch everything Google does, and with that make the Web better. We're trying to unleash our investment for millions of developers."

I failed to ask whether Mr. Clinton is related to the famous promoter of the Erie Canal (left), but he does have some of the old Governor's gift for salesmanship.