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Google Leaves App Inventor In Limbo 114

theodp writes "Google took some heat for pulling the plug on App Inventor for Android, but all was good with the announcement that App Inventor would live on at MIT. But try to run the App Inventor Java test today and you'll be told that 'as of December 31, 2011, Google ended support of App Inventor', even though the Google-funded Center for Mobile Learning at the MIT Media Lab won't be able to provide a large scale App Inventor service for general public access until 'sometime in the first quarter of 2012.' Until then, schools offering App Inventor classes and others who desire continued access to the easy-to-use mobile development environment are advised to try to run their own App Inventor Services on Google App Engine using MIT's test JAR files, a seemingly daunting task, especially considering App Inventor's target audience. Any thoughts on why Google would unplug the old system before the new one was ready?"
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Google Leaves App Inventor In Limbo

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  • Because (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JustOK ( 667959 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:40PM (#38563954) Journal

    They're evil?

  • Re:Because (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SharkLaser ( 2495316 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:43PM (#38563976) Journal
    I've said for a long time that it's just stupid to trust Google to keep any of their services up and running and to rely on them. You get what you pay for. People who still haven't got that are just going to see more services they use dropped.
  • Not Surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tihstae ( 86842 ) <Tihstae@gmail.com> on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:49PM (#38564038) Homepage

    This is not surprising at all. What is surprising is that they gave advanced notice. Google doesn't lay down any timelines or plans for any of their schtuff. They invent it, put it out there and at some point, turn it off. How can you expect them to keep things running when they seldom even write documentation for the stuff they have out there? If they do write documentation it is released way after the release of new features and often right before a new release nullifies that documentation.

    Google's view is it's ours so we will or won't support it at our whim.

  • by DavidinAla ( 639952 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:51PM (#38564070)
    I don't mean this as criticism of Google, but it's a major company whose interest is making money. Something like this is pretty much irrelevant to its operations. Some other priority -- internally or externally -- got in the way of what they were doing, so they pulled the plug. Those who think Google (or any other company) does things just to be helpful are living in fantasy land. This is what's wrong with relying on free services. If a company can make money by offering you a service, that service will continue. If it can't -- and it some other interest gets in the way -- your service will be gone. If you truly care about something, pay for it from a provider who has a financial interest in keeping your business.
  • Re:Because (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:00PM (#38564158)

    Yes, because open sourcing and handing over a project to an institute of higher learning where the basic components of that project were developed is a sign of true pure evil.

    Or, you know, a company making a business decision that supports FOSS. Whichever way Slashdot is leaning today.

  • Re:Because (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice@gm a i l . com> on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:00PM (#38564160)

    What about this makes them evil? They are entitled to withdraw a service, that doesn't make them evil at all. Just because the third party replacement service isn't ready doesn't oblige them to do anything.

  • Obviously... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by N0Man74 ( 1620447 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:01PM (#38564166)

    It seems obvious to me, that they are blatantly ignoring your sense of entitlement.

    How dare Google for having the unbridled audacity to not keep their free experimental service and software project fully maintained and supported 100% of the time after donating it to the MIT Media Lab, until the Media Lab was able to deploy their service.

    Sure, it could be a bit frustrating if you were a heavy user of it, but at the same time is it really fair to criticize them for not being quite generous enough and on your terms?

  • Re:The Usual (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:09PM (#38564240)

    Neither do individuals.

  • by yotto ( 590067 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:12PM (#38564254) Homepage

    Maybe these "schools" who offered "classes" in App Inventor should first have someone on hand who knows enough about computers to get the service up and running.

    And maybe, just MAYBE they should have had that all set up already, considering they're (presumably) charging money for the class.

    What's next classes on Minecraft? Oh wait... [arstechnica.com]

  • Re:Because (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:23PM (#38564330)

    You're an idiot. "Evil" is things like crushing free speech, putting profits over human rights, etc. "Evil" is not shutting down a product.

  • Re:Because (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SharkLaser ( 2495316 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:29PM (#38564386) Journal

    "Evil" is things like crushing free speech,

    Google does that too [wikipedia.org].

    In Germany and France, a study reported that approximately 113 White Nationalist, Nazi, anti-semitic, radical Islamic and other websites had been removed from the German and French versions of Google.

  • Re:Because (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @02:22PM (#38564796)

    So how much warning did we get about the end of Windows Mobile again? Plays For Now? Zune? Kin?

    None. Business decisions were made, losses were cut, and the corporations deployed PR flacks, spin doctors, and social media twits to smooth over the end-user ill will. No big story there. That's how it's done: now, then, and probably for a long time to come.

    We draw attention to it when Google does it because of that company's smug stance of "doing no evil" and pretense that they are somehow more morally upright then Microsoft, Apple, Oracle or their other tech-giant peers. They are the corporate equivalent of the preachy "socially conservative" politician who gets caught in the public restroom with an underage rent-boy.

  • by SageBrian ( 711125 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @02:22PM (#38564798) Homepage

    Google announced the dropping of App Inventor months ago. And it was announce in August that MIT was taking it over.
    http://developers.slashdot.org/story/11/08/16/2048207/app-inventor-continues-life-at-mit [slashdot.org]

    So, why is the story about Google dropping a service, and not about MIT properly preparing their service?
    Especially if classes were being prepared for this, you would think that MIT would have gotten things up and running in 3 months. Or, were they just relying on Google to keep it up for another year?

  • Re:Because (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aix tom ( 902140 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @02:31PM (#38564862)

    For critical systems I only trust myself.

    I trust everything I have physical control over and have up to date backups/mirrors of to not stop working the next day. Which pretty much rules out that I would ever trust any "cloud" services that are not offered in an technical identical way by multiple companies.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.