Back in July, Google announced yet another “experiment”: they were releasing an easy-to-use, visual interface that allowed everyday users to create apps for Android phones. The functionality wasn’t immense, but Google wanted to know who would be interested in testing the new utility. The answer, it seems, was just about everybody.
For that reason, Google recently announced on their official research blog that they were opening the App Inventor to the public. To register, you simply have to have a Google account, then visit appinventor.googlelabs.com.
The app inventor isn’t meant to be a go-to for those designing marketable applications. Rather, it’s meant for those who want to tap into the power of the Android as a computing system for personal use. It’s great for those who want to toy around with app creation, are new to the concept, or just want a new tool set for simple tasks. The Inventor lets users combine images, text, captions, labels, videos, sounds, and other elements in a way that integrates user interaction (on click, screen one changes to screen two, or plays a sound, or displays text, etc.).
However, this relatively boxed in functionality is very easy to execute (a Google intro video shows us a simple app being made in less than a minute) and those using the program since July have come up with some very clever ways to use it. Applications made thus far include everything from vocabulary quizzes to text message broadcasting tools to a public transit helper — and even to a marriage proposal app.
Those interested in figuring this application creator out will find plenty of resources at their disposal. Extensive reference documentation and a lineup of tutorials are just the start; the site also has lots of user-generated help content, an active forum, FAQs, and troubleshooting utilities.