Is Google really poised to release another, full scale software development tool in 2013? According to Neal Mohan, Google’s Vice President of Display Advertising, the search engine giant is on the cusp of releasing another new integrated development environment. While only hinted at briefly on June 4th in the official DoubleClick Advertiser blog, the pride of Mountain View will soon be making Google Web Designer available to the software development community, with the goal of providing simple and intuitive tools that will "help advertisers and publishers more seamlessly unlock the potential of cross-device programs."
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Is the industry ready for another new IDE initiative?
And just in case you haven't been keeping count, Google Web Designer is the second major IDE initiative Google has announced this year. Android Studio, a full featured, stand-alone IDE that will supplant Eclipse as the development tool of choice for many developers, was announced in May. But why is Google diving into the money-pit of developing and releasing full featured IDE tools, especially when simply creating plugins for existing tools such as NetBeans, Eclipse and Visual Studio is a fairly standard, accepted and cost-effective practice?
The answer, of course, has to do with driving Google's bottom line. With these newly released development tools, product integration becomes a first class function, making it much easier for developers to interface with a full array of Google Services such as AdMob, In-App Billing and Analytics. Google's release of open source IDEs and development tools is by no means a philanthropic gesture. What Google wants is to make it easy, if not innate, for developers to include their key revenue generating services in the applications they release. Expect the same tactics Android Studio employs to woo developers into using AdMob and In-App Billing to be employed by the soon to be released Google Web Designer.
Should IDE vendors and competitors be worried?
And while the jury is still out on exactly what feature set GWD will provide, leading vendors in the desktop publishing and web development tools industries shouldn't have anything to fret about. Google Web Designer is unlikely to come out of the gates trying to win over seasoned developers with a fuller feature set than every IDE in existence combined. Google product launches typically embrace a New Jersey release style with fewer features, but a strong emphasis on utility and usability. DoubleClick Studio started off slowly, gaining initial popularity with non-developers, focusing on making the trafficking of ads super easy. Don't expect too much from the early versions of GWD, but do expect Google to keep improving on Web Designer and other content creation tools. These tools are simply a strategic piece of the ultimate prize, Google's global marketing platform.
Google's overarching strategy has always been to support the web in a manner that brings all interested parties, from advertisers to partners to consumers, closer to their golden goose: Adwords. Last year Google bought Wildfire, a social media marketing software company that effectively bridged them across the social media gap, providing Google's ad network hooks into Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Google's release of Consumer Surveys last year, and website surveys a few months ago, flew under the radar of many, but it was an important move, integrating qualitative data into the Google platform, complimenting their existing presence in the world of quantitative data analysis. Other tools and services such as Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, Website Optimizer, YouTube and Google+ are also filling in the gaps and subsequently being used to win over advertisers and keep existing clients tightly tied to the platform. Google is relentless at addressing any real or perceived weakness in their platform, and GWD, like Android Studio and DoubleClick Studio that came before, is clearly intended to fill a perceived gap in the IDE space.
The reality is, Google is building a full suite marketing platform that everyone, from the soccer-Mom bloggers to the enterprise software developers, can use. Google will likely provide the tools for free, but don't believe for a second that it is entirely a charitable gesture. Google Web Designer is just the next tactic in a series of moves for Google that will continue to see Mountain View drive the bottom line and retain their position as the world's leader in advertising revenue.
Do you think Google Web Toolkit will be more beneficial to developers or to Google? Let us know.