For all the chatter regarding the great democratizing power of the internet – its capacity to enable a generation of thinkers of creators to produce amazing things – a simple problem has kept the creation of applications limited to small number of people.
To make computer-y things, you need to, like, know stuff.
Well no more, internet! No more!
Today, Google announced public invitations to its App Inventor for Android, an application that will allow those with almost no programming knowledge to create their own apps for the Android market. Using a simple graphical interface, users can choose things like button size, colors and (obviously) function in order to produce small, straightforward applications that will then be publicly available to any Android user.
What’s key here is that, as web guru Clay Shirky always argues, people go from being app consumers to app creators, choosing to produce content rather than passively watch or use the content of others. What’s more, despite the potential for the Android Market to become flooded with junk, it also means Android may soon have more apps than Apple’s App Store, which would look great as a marketing tool.
Hopefully, Google can figure out how to keep the quality apps separate from ones done just for fun or show – though, um, the demo cat app in the video doesn’t exactly fill one with hope. Still, it’s hard not to commend Google for their attempts to open up app creation to as many people as possible.