There was fresh chatter over the weekend that Google may be preparing to launch a cloud computing platform similar to Amazon's EC2 and S3 - and that it might be free. This rumor is being stoked by an oblique post Saturday by Dave Winer, in which a talking pig asks him if he'd like to run Amazon-style services "in Google's cloud." Dave's post suggested the services would be free for bloggers and users "with modest needs," but perhaps not for everyone. Is the talking pig a reference to Pig, the open source architecture from Yahoo for working with large data sets? UPDATE: Dave has more today, looking at why a Google service offering might be free.
As always, such rumors need to be taken with a grain of salt. Microsoft infrastructure architect James Hamilton writes that although this report has made the rounds before, a Google third-party service platform is "a matter of when rather than if." An excerpt:
Why? Mostly because it makes too much sense. The Google infrastructure investment combined with phenomenal scale yields some of the lowest cost compute and storage in the industry. They can sell compute and storage at considerably above their costs and yet still be offering substantial cost reductions to smaller services. That's if they chose to charge for it.
Microsoft is clearly staying busy on the architecture front as well, as Hamilton and new Microsoft colleague Greg Linden have been contributing some informative blog posts on the topic in recent weeks.