The Google Android Market has somewhere around 100,000 apps today. That’s still less than half the number of apps you can find in the iTunes App Store, but the Android Market is growing at a ridiculously fast pace and could overtake the App Store pretty soon — and Google has launched a new tool that could make that day come even sooner.
Google App Inventor is a tool that lets anyone create Android applications using a drag and drop web-based interface. You don’t need to know how to program a single line of code to use App Inventor, but you can create all sorts of different apps ranging from games to apps that help you prepare for a test by asking you questions.
App Inventor provides access to all sorts of different services available on Android devices. For instance, you can tap into the GPS location sensor to create apps that know your current location. You can write an app that sends text messages. And you can even link in online services such as Twitter.
Google has launched App Inventor as a private beta right now, but you can sign up to request an invitation.
On the one hand this is all very exciting because it means that anyone with a good idea for an app will have a much easier time creating one — without hiring a developer or hitting the books to figure out how to code it. On the other hand, it could mean that we’re going to see an awful lot of low quality, spammy apps for Google Android in the not too distance future. You know, I mean more than there already are.
The future of the App Store vs. Android Market may play out as a battle of quality versus quantity.
Hopefully by the time App Inventor is available for the general public, Google will also come up with a better way to sort the wheat from the chafe in the Android Market. If not, you can always use a third party app store like AppBrain which make it easier to search for apps by category, popularity, and other criteria.
You can check out a video demo of the Google App Inventor after the break.