App Maker - Google Introduces New App Creation Suite

December 2, 2016

App Maker - Google Introduces New App Creation Suite

Yesterday Google revealed App Maker, a relatively low-tech way for developers to compile simple applications for Google Play. With the goal of simplifying the iteration process and opening app development up to a wider swath of creators, App Maker seems poised to do for Google Play what Apple’s investment in Swift has done for the App Store. App Maker boasts “features like built-in templates, a drag-and-drop UI editor, and point-and-click data modeling [to] accelerate app development”. In other words, Google is attempting to democratize app development. This raises several questions for app developers and hobbyists alike. How will the introduction of App Maker help want-to-be developers who have been turned off of development by the complexity of programming? Will existing developers see a shift in competition on Google Play? Let’s start by addressing new creators looking to get into development with App Maker. While the promise of a code-lite, drag-and-drop creation suite is certainly exciting, it’s important to take into consideration the limitations of such a program, too. App Maker supports coding languages such as HTML, CSS and Javascript, so depending on how simple your proposed app is, there’s a good chance you’ll still have to dip into some coding. That said, the simple interface may expedite prototyping for simple apps. The development environment is cloud-based and intuitive, making it easy to sync with your data from G Suite applications, Google Maps, Contacts and Groups. You can also plug in other APIs to easily expand functionality. Google’s goal here is to make it simple for teams to handle development of specific, simple apps in-house without bringing on an outside developer. Yes, there is a relatively deep IDE that lets developers tool around deeper with code, but ultimately the main target is companies looking to expand into the mobile marketplace without bringing on a whole new team. On that same train of thought, App Maker likely isn’t going to become the go-to for developing complex games or other feature-dense applications. For existing developers, however, App Maker will likely mean a slight increase in competition on Google Play. A lower bar to entry for developers means more developers will be able to create high-quality apps that can compete in the Play store. With Google targeting enterprise companies, those who already have such apps in the store can expect more competition around related search terms. It will be necessary to monitor the Google Play store more closely, tracking trends that may be influenced by an influx of new apps. Just as in a standard optimization, app descriptions and creatives should be adjusted slightly to cater to these new trends, without completely reindexing your app. Use your current title, description and short description as a base, and make edits from there. With App Maker, Google is attempting to lower the bar to entry for corporate developers on the Play store. How successful they will be, and how many apps will come from this effort, remains to be seen, but App Maker is certainly worth keeping an eye on for both new and experienced developers - especially companies in Google’s target market.