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Google App Maker to shut down in wake of AppSheet buy

Google App Maker, the company's low-code development tool, will be shut down in January 2021. Google offers users alternative options for users to switch to as App Maker sunsets.

In the wake of its acquisition of the AppSheet no-code platform, Google said it will kill off its App Maker low-code tool early next year.

In a post on the G Suite Updates blog, the company said: "Due to low usage, Google App Maker will be turned down gradually over the course of 2020 and officially shut down on January 19, 2021."

Google introduced the App Maker tool in 2016, but it never caught on as much as the company expected.

John RymerJohn Rymer

"We never saw much adoption of App Maker and it had very limited functionality compared to other products," said John Rymer, an analyst at Forrester Research. "This is why you won't see Google App Maker in our Forrester Waves on low-code platforms."

Google said though App Maker is no longer under active development by the company, existing apps made with the tool will continue to work and the service will continue to be maintained. However, starting April 15, users will not be able to create new App Maker apps, but they will still be able to edit and deploy existing ones.

On Jan. 19, 2021, existing App Maker apps will stop working and users will no longer have access to them. That said, App Maker data is stored in Cloud SQL and it will continue to be maintained according to the policies established by users' Google Cloud Platform accounts, according to Google

We never saw much adoption of App Maker and it had very limited functionality compared to other products.
John Rymer Analyst, Forrester

With App Maker going away, Google recommends that customers who use App Maker to build web and mobile applications should use Google App Engine going forward. Since App Maker data is stored in Cloud SQL, developers can use the information in App Engine creations. For those who use App Maker for data collection, Google recommends Google Forms.

Customers that used App Maker for business process-oriented applications should adopt AppSheet, which has similar capabilities. Because of the specific source code used for App Maker, it is not possible to directly migrate apps to another platform, Google said. Google acquired AppSheet earlier this month to enhance its appeal to line-of-business users and to attract non-traditional developers to its platform.

"With AppSheet, Google has made a new bet on low-code platforms and so I wasn't surprised to see App Maker go away," Rymer said. "Add App Maker to Google's long list of projects that were killed after failing to gain adoption -- remember Google+?"

The battle for non-traditional or so-called citizen developers is heating up as low-code/no-code tools begin to catch on in the enterprise. Google launched App Maker in 2016 as a competitor to Microsoft's PowerApps no-code tool, which has seen increased adoption.

While some observers noted that the demise of Google App Maker indicates that low-code platforms are losing traction, Rymer demurred. "I don't see that at all," he said.

Indeed, low-code/no-code vendors such as Appian, Mendix and OutSystems have claimed significant revenue growth.

"Saying that the demise of App Maker indicates that low-code is failing is like seeing WebGain's failure as an interpretation that developer IDEs were failing," said Jeffrey Hammond, an analyst at Forrester.

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