Oh no. Not again.
I seem to recall the battle over decoupling Internet Explorer from Windows. Not like it was yesterday, but like it was the day before yesterday of last week. But what I do remember clearly was that Microsoft kept saying that somebody might someday put the entire desktop metaphor out of business through a sneaky browser, and I laughed. Maybe Sergey Brin was watching TV with an evil smirk on his face thinking 'one day...'
Well the bad news is that Google seems to have decided to get into the database business. Sorta. Surely there's a difference between these fusion tables and bigtable. But surely they will bridge that gap, just like MSFT bridged the gap between Access and SQL Server. And so now a new front opens.
A cat named Hellman worries that all database folks will go out of the window, but I say there's nothing like having a headstart when everything gets user friendly. I mean microwave ovens didn't kill the restaurant business.
I'm interested to see what kind of visualization appliances they put on the top of this bad boy. That will be the key to it doing something fairly cool. I'm not sanguine about the prospects of shotgun collaboration as I said about Google Wave and the 'appliancicity' of all sorts of simple technological machines as Google has made infinitely scalable. The magic about ERP systems, which in a simple way of speaking, are 'merely' tables and rules, are the brains behind the workflow between them. So visualization and linking between tables enables collaboration but it doesn't really enforce discipline and mark checkpoints along the way - and that's the entire difference between mere information dissemination and a process that could be called critical. Just like security isn't the mere act of putting a super incredible lock on your front door, what's extra cool about databases is not that you can slap them on something and have a system.
The real advance here is a species of cloudiness anyway which is speed of deployment. We now have the equivalent of an early version of Access - the Jet engine if you will, now in the hands of Google. This will not revolutionize anything more than Google Spreadsheets did - it just gives another sort of object in mashups. Nevertheless, this takes us one step closer to the entire unavoidable issue of the speed at which Google will be able to demonstrate that it can deploy artifacts like your company budget faster than your company's own IT department.
You have to take notice.