Google's master Android plan: We're all mobile app developers now

Summary:Google has launched an effort to make everyone an Android software developer. The search giant is hellbent on growing its app inventory and the Android marketplace and has the momentum and open approach to just give Apple a run.

Google has launched an effort to make everyone an Android software developer. The search giant is hellbent on growing its app inventory and the Android marketplace and has the momentum and open approach to just give Apple a run.

Now Google is offering a do-it-yourself mobile app tool. The tool, which is available now in Google Labs, is called App Inventor. Google sets the scene:

To use App Inventor, you do not need to be a developer. App Inventor requires NO programming knowledge. This is because instead of writing code, you visually design the way the app looks and use blocks to specify the app's behavior.

The discussion around App Inventor early Monday focused on quality of apps. Gasp! Will quality suffer if non-techies use App Inventor? Probably not. Let's get real here. The mobile app quality isn't so hot to begin with. Many apps are simply useless on Android and iPhone. However, the beauty here is that useless is in the eye of the beholder. Now I'm never going for the Wonder Bread app, but some sandwich junkie may think it's the best thing ever. There's something to be said for allowing anyone to create a quiz app (right). Sure, there will be clunkers, but open up mobile apps and let the marketplace demand decide.

Google is going to open Android up to the masses and probably pass the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch app market in the future. There was a good bit of chatter about Android's surge over the weekend. I'm in the camp that thinks Android's march to the No. 1 app spot is inevitable.

AndroidLib estimates that the Android marketplace will soon have more than 100,000 mobile apps. Apple's App Store has more than 225,000.

And now you throw in App Inventor and it's clear Google is trying to do to Android what it did for YouTube. You contribute and the ecosystem grows---exponentially. In addition, App Inventor is a nice way to show off what Android can do.

It remains to be seen if the masses truly start creating Android apps. App Inventor makes life easier, but it's unlikely your grandmother is going to follow along. That's OK since there will be enough semi-novice developers to boost the Android app inventory.

Here's a look at a few screenshots from App Inventor.

The creation of an app...

And how App Inventor organizes functions into blocks...

Topics: Apps, Android, Google, Mobility, Software Development

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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