At the recent Campfire One dealie, the google folks unveiled their "Friend Connect" stuff. The elevator pitch is that it lets you add "social networking features to your website".
Being a curmudgeonly hermit, I usually skip over anything with the word "social network" in it because it means radically different things to different people. But I decided to investigate a little more and check out the demo video so I'd at least know something about it.
Turns out, it's kind of interesting in that you can turn a static site into a "community" pretty quickly. It's as easy as dropping some HTML into your site to get stuff like member login, photo sharing, ratings and reviews, and stuff like that.
Basically, all the gnarly crap on my TODO list for a GAE app that I was putting off addressing until the last minute because I really, really don't want to write another damned login system.
In short, google is slowly providing all the tools (available in a Fisher-Price, snap together fashion) that you'd need to build a fairly complex (and hopefully useful) site and removing them from the equation so all developers are left with is creating content. They're trying to shift the focus of developers from worrying about what to provide instead of how to provide it.
Vurrah cool, and anyone who's business plan uses the words "digg clone" should be getting kind of nervous right about now. :)