Four New Apps Cooking in Google Labs

By Alyssa Gregory

I periodically check out Google Labs to see if there are any interesting apps cooking.

Here are four of the newest apps being developed, tested and reviewed by Google. Take them on a test drive … do you think any of them have staying power?

App Inventor For Android

App Inventor lets non-developers build Android apps by visually designing applications with blocks to specify application logic. You can use App Inventor to build games, educations apps, and even apps to enhance communication. You can use the GPS-location sensor to build location aware apps, make your apps communicate by using the phone functionality, and integrate with the web to build mashup applications.


Google DataWiki is a tool for managing structured data. It extends the idea of a normal wiki to make it easy to create, edit, share and visualize structured data. Then, interlinks the data formats to make it more useful and relevant.

Google Books Ngram Viewer

Based on Google Books’ content database of over 10% of all books ever published, Google Books Ngram Viewer lets you see how often phrases have occurred in books over the years. You can graph the occurrence of phrases from 1400 through the present day right in your browser.

Google Shared Spaces

Google Shared Spaces allows you to create a space with a collaborative gadget and a chat box within it. The gadgets are based on the Wave technology, so there are already more than 50 gadgets across different categories, including productivity, collaboration and planning.

You can create a new space by going to the gallery and clicking on one of the featured gadgets. Spaces can easily be shared with a URL. You can also use Google Shared Spaces to create your own real-time, collaborative gadgets and spaces.

Note: This one was just released, so there are still some kinks accessing it consistently.

And More Testing in The Works…

In addition to the range of new apps percolating, Google also has some new functionality in the works for existing apps, including:

Calendar Labs:

  • Gentle reminders
  • Automatically declining events
  • Event attachments
  • Smart rescheduler
  • Year view
  • Jump to date
  • World clock

Gmail Labs:

  • Advanced IMAP controls
  • Authentication icon for verified senders
  • Canned responses
  • Custom date formats
  • Google Docs previews in mail
  • Google Maps previews in mail
  • Hide read labels
  • Inbox preview
  • Message translation
  • Quote selected text

Google Maps Labs:

  • Distance measurement tool
  • Shorten the Maps “Link” to be a more compact URL
  • Drag ‘n’ zoom
  • Rotatable maps
  • Smart zoom


  • Comment search
  • Insights for audience
  • Caption editor
  • HTML5 video
  • YouTube music discovery
  • App Inventor does have staying power, especially given the hazzle developing apps for Android and other mobile platforms.

  • kashifhassan

    hi i really appreciate the technical developments Google getting day by day and for Google details u c visit @ http://www.toronto.pk

  • jerichvc

    If there is an app-inventor counterpart for iphone apps then things will change for iphone app developers. :D

  • kaf

    App inventor looks like it would only be useful if you can write your own code in it instead of dragging and dropping logic blocks. Otherwise it make it too easy to create crap.
    I don’t think we need any more contributions to the hoards of useless apps. Sometimes I think developing should be made harder, not easier so we end up with less farting apps made by high schoolers and apps that just display a website made by lazy companies trying to cash in on the latest turd deposited on the face of the industry by idiotic marketers.

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