Google: You Too Can Be A Developer In The Privacy Of Your Own Home

Not only is the Android Market an open platform for developers (with no approval process, ala the App Store), but now we’ll likely see a vast array of specialized apps built by non-developers. This could radically increase the volume of apps in the Market versus the App Store.

I’ve written about Google’s seeming goal of getting mobile devices on the web instead of running local apps. I outlined some things that could keep Android app quality relatively low: 

  • Fragmentation – Minimal app compatibility, or a lowest common denominator app that can’t take full advantage of a device.
  • Lack of vetting – Lets weak apps through, including potential security risks. 
  • Flash support – Another way of encouraging lowest common denominator apps. 

I wrote “In short, while appearing to do all they can to let as many apps be available as possible, they’ve created a platform to breed lower-quality, inconsistent apps”

If there was any doubt about Google’s desire to have lots of apps while keeping the app experience relatively weak, their latest move should make it clear: they’re letting anyone write apps.

Google’s App Inventor is like a late-night informercial: “Why bother learning a language and coding techniques, now anyone can be a developer with the Develop-O-Matic.” I can see the infomercial endorsements now: “I was skeptical, but I just followed the simple steps provided. As a programmer I make more money each month than I ever dreamed of, and was able to quit my job snaking toilets at Wal-Mart. If I can do it, so can you!”

With everybody and their little brother submitting apps there’s little question Android’s app count will make huge gains. It probably won’t take long before the number exceeds Apple’s App Store, which is something they’re gunning for. And with weak “competition” of local apps like this, Google’s web-based solutions will look that much better, which helps lead people right where Google wants them. 

I have no issue with lots of web and local apps; let everyone decide what works best for them. But what I see is Google poisoning the well from which local apps are drawn. They don’t appear to want a fair fight, and make local apps too difficult (their market place appears to be a mess), generic (soon to include Jr. Developer Kit apps), and risky (potential privacy or security issues) so web apps look far superior by comparison.

How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet

I suppose earlier generations had to sit through all this huffing and puffing
with the invention of television, the phone, cinema, radio, the car, the bicycle,
printing, the wheel and so on, but you would think we would learn the way these
things work, which is this:

1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;

2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly
exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;

3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order
of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s
been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.

Apply this list to movies, rock music, word processors and mobile phones to
work out how old you are.

Fantastic article by Douglas Adams written 11 years ago. It’s great not just because Adams “got” the Internet, but rather “got” technology and society as a whole.

I chose the above passage because it’s generally true, but also because I’m an exception to it. Though more than 20 years past the stated cut-off, I still love seeing technology progress. Especially in the areas of mobile and personal computing. Though a geek myself, I believe the more technology is taken out of the hands of IT groups, geeks and “gurus”, and put into the hands of a typical family home, the better.

Dumping Flash Pays Off In Extended User Engagement

In early May, Scribd announced its plans to ditch Adobe’s Flash and began the arduous process of converting every document (of its “tens of millions”) to native, HTML5 pages…

That gamble has paid off handsomely for Scribd. Although the number of unique visitors still stands at roughly 50 million per month, those users are spending significantly more time perusing documents and sharing with friends.That growth in user engagement has rapidly accelerated in the past month. On May 25, at TechCrunch Disrupt, Friedman said user engagement had doubled— implying strong acceleration in the last three weeks.

A richer user experience that simultaneously doesn’t slow the system/browser down is used by people more? A lot more? Yes. Duh.

To those companies thinking a switch from Flash gains them nothing because the content is already viewable: Think again.

Google’s Chrome Web Store: “Open” or “Closed”?

Google is reminding us all that “apps” can and should run on the open web, and not just in closed, vertically integrated and controlled environments like the iPhone/Pad/Touch.

Is that what they’re reminding us of? Since Apple’s devices have a compliant web browser in Safari we’ll find out soon enough.

If the Chrome Web Store is truly about supplying apps that “should run on the open web” you’ll be able to use it on an “iPhone/Pad/Touch”. If not, then Google has just created a “closed, vertically integrated and controlled” environment of their own. If the latter, I wonder if the “open” zealots will call them on it.

MobileMe Mail Beta: Google Chrome need not apply

Safari 4 (Mac and PC), Firefox 3.6 (Mac and PC), and Internet Explorer 8 (PC) are fully supported.

Well, well, well, look whose browser is not invited to Apple’s MobileMe Mail beta program.

Of course, there’s no Opera, either.

A lot could be made of this, but it’s probably nothing. It makes sense for Apple to focus the beta program on the latest IE and Firefox, as well as their own, browsers. But it’ll be interesting to see if Chrome gets a shout when Mail is out of beta.