Google Aims To Democratize Android App Development
Today, Google is out with a free software framework called Google App Inventor for Android, which promises to make it easy for anyone to create applications for Android smartphones. This move from Google is a shrewd one, and falls right in line with open source principles and the power of crowdsourcing. At the same time, though, apps and app stores are such critical components in any successful smartphone strategy that Google should observe some sensible rules.
Apple has received much criticism from developers and others for what are seen as closed policies related to its app store, and lack of proper communication with app developers. With App Inventor for Android, Google is casting a very wide net, and hoping that anyone and everyone will embrace an open app development ecosystem, where creating apps is theoretically very easy. Google tested the new software in high schools and universities to meet its open goals.
App Inventor for Android focuses on drag-and-drop tools and reusable, graphical components. It's a direct extension of the object-oriented, visual development tools that have revolutionized app development. It's also the kind of thing that Google can do well. The company understands the power of putting a flexible, open tool in the hands of many, especially now that Android has become an irrefutable open source success.
With App Inventor for Android, Google's best course of action will be to encourage very open app development, and pursue the creation of app stores that cater to the masses and make applications easily discoverable. One aspect of Google's positioning of the new software that you just gotta like is that the company reasons that as mobile phones become platforms that people rely on all the time, they should be able to create their own apps. Of course they should, and if they're allowed to build them and share them in a truly open way, then Google may give Apple some new kinds of headaches.