Google launches Web Designer app for creating animated HTML5 ads

Google launches Web Designer app for creating animated HTML5 ads

Summary: Google has unveiled the Google Web Designer app for Chrome, but it should really be called Google Ad Designer. It provides a way to create Adobe Flash-style animated ads in HTML5/CSS3


Google has unveiled a beta version of its new Google Web Designer, but unless it's going to change a lot before the launch, it should really be called Google Ad Designer. The main purpose appears to be to provide a way to produce Adobe Flash-style animated advertisements in HTML5/CSS3 without using Flash.

And as the website says: "Google Web Designer makes it simple to publish ads through any platform. Choose from DoubleClick Studio or AdMob, or go for the Generic option to push content through any other ad network. No coding required."

Google Web Designer is available as a free (as in beer) download for Windows PC and Mac OS X, so at this stage, it won't run on Linux, or Chromebooks.

Google Web Designer screenshot
Google Web Designer, best used for developing animated ads. Source: ZDNet screen grab from the GWD website.

Google Web Designer generates pages targeted at Google's browser, though it also supports Firefox and Internet Explorer. On Hacker News, a Google Web Developer called Nivesh explained: "While editing a file, Google Web Designer uses -webkit prefixes. However, when you publish your content, the publish dialog allows you to specify additional vendor prefixes (or no prefixes) in the output so the content works in different browsers."

Other Hacker News users reckon the code that GWD generates compares unfavorably to Microsoft FrontPage 2000.

While all this raises an obvious question (Why the heck would Google do this?), the answer appears to be somewhat mundane. As tumultco (of the rival Tumult Hype) observes: "This appears to be a fork of the Ninja Authoring Tool which was made by Motorola Mobility over a year ago as part of the Montage project. Now Google owns Motorola Mobility."

Whether there's much point remains to be seen. Professional ad designers already have similar and probably better tools, such as Adobe Edge Animate, Tumult Hype, Sensha Animator and Apple's iAd Producer. (All of these were suggested by Hacker News readers.) Perhaps this makes it more of an app for unprofessional ad designers.

What Google Web Designer really needs is something that identifies the resulting animated HTML5/CSS ads and thus makes them easy to block. At least with Flash, blocking was never a problem.

Further reading

Topics: Web development, Google, Google Apps

Jack Schofield

About Jack Schofield

Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first website and, in 2001, its first real blog. When the printed section was dropped after 25 years and a couple of reincarnations, he felt it was a time for a change....

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  • Problems. Need solutions

    The problems is many gadget still did not have HTML5 browser. so Google need to make the browser for all gadget especially the old version. and then HTML5 can be delivered easier. now many gadget did not support HTML5 yet
    Utomo Prawiro
  • Google helping blocking ads? LoL

    Does the author really expects Google to make it easy to block those ads who are Google main income source? ;-)
  • Shame it won't run on Linux

    So it becomes useless for many web and mobile developers who would enjoy such a tool. I undestand the focus is producing ads, but the tool loks promising for any type of web development, including cross-platform mobile development -- but I wonder if Google wants anyone to develop HTML5 mobile apps instead of native Android ones.