If you can play LEGO, you can create Android apps with a new software from Google

If you can play LEGO, you can create Android apps with a new software from Google
Have you ever had a great idea for an app, but are too lazy/artistic/coding-gives-me-the-hiccups to learn any developer programming language? Fret not, Google has you covered. In the spirit of its “Do no evil” motto, the search giant has taken on sabbatical an MIT computer scientist to lead the Google App Inventor project. Harold Abelson has been a leading proponent of making science research and knowledge in general free and open to the public, which makes him perfectly suited for expanding the openness of the Android platform.

The goal from the onset has been to engage smartphone users, and turn them from observers of the hectic pace with which the industry is developing, to engaged creators of content for their Android handsets. Google App Inventor is aiming to let folks who don't want to spend months or years studying programming languages, make their own Android apps that no one else might use, but would make life easier for this particular individual.

The web-based software has been tested on different target groups, including high school girls - the least geeky people on the planet – and the ease of use appeared promising. App creation is as simple as dragging together code wrapped as images to make a newly minted app do simple tasks like send a text message to someone under certain circumstances. The pieces of the coding puzzle also allow you to use the phone's hardware such as accelerometer sensors, in order to detect certain positions, and take action accordingly.

Tinkering around with your computer, playing or creating simple games of the whac-a-mole type for example, which you can do with Google App Inventor, is how a lot of users got into IT in the first place. Google hopes to bring this experience to Android application development, which  might eventually attract even more “developers” to Android.

This open approach to software creation's main virtue is that it opens the floodgates of people's imagination, and widens the base for content creation. It is a simple logic that might start a quiet revolution in the way people view their all-in-one gadget, the smartphone. Now, if only Google has been testing this with soccer moms and achieved satisfactory results, consider us sold to the idea.

You can have a first look and sign up for the service here (requires a Gmail address).

source: NYTimes via Textually



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10 Comments

1. ilia1986 unregistered

Okay Now the million dollar question is - how deep is it really? Can someone really create complex apps out of this? like games, or apps that use the camera, or the 3G connection? Because so far one of the main arguments of Android users was that the Apple appstore is full of "million farting apps". Well - if making cat sounds is the best that this "inventor" can do - then Android is far worse. Or maybe I'm wrong? I know how to play Lego. There is no way in hell any GUI interface can give me the tools to create something akin to Red Alert for iPhone (as an example) with the same ease of Lego playing.

5. nak1017

Posts: 328; Member since: Jan 08, 2010

Quoting from above: "Google App Inventor is aiming to let folks who don't want to spend months or years studying programming languages, make their own Android apps that no one else might use, but would make life easier for this particular individual." I'm guessing if it isn't able to do the apps with the camera and 3G now, it might in the future, but I doubt it's powerful enough to do something like Red Alert though... if anything it's a great teaching tool. What I'm more interested in is that the girl in the video is using Safari, not Chrome. WTF! Bad Google employee! Does anyone from Microsoft, Google, Mozilla or Apple use the browser made by their respective companies?!?!

6. zerovampire311

Posts: 42; Member since: Jun 22, 2009

I think the point of this is more akin to not having developers make "farting apps", but rather making it so individuals design those simple apps themselves, and don't flood the market with it.

10. phonefanatic

Posts: 2; Member since: Jul 13, 2010

I'd much rather listen to little kitties then farting noises.

2. easytochris

Posts: 126; Member since: Jan 21, 2010

definitely leaving work early today, going to play with this when i get home.

3. Sharky

Posts: 259; Member since: Jun 24, 2008

Vuvuzela apps cometh!

4. jmweekes

Posts: 14; Member since: Aug 28, 2008

+1 for soccer mom slam!

7. NOVAinc

Posts: 99; Member since: Jun 24, 2010

The real question is: how much will take it for the android market to hit the 760.000 apps? I bet that by the end of the year you will have 3 "sms sender app" apps for each app available at the app store

8. locoboy808

Posts: 53; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

hahaha how lame that not and app thats more like a text lol

9. Nullstring

Posts: 18; Member since: Jan 27, 2010

arf! arf! arf! got yah!

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