Google will soon launch Google Web Designer, an HTML5 development tool for "creative professionals." The service, Google says, will launch within "the coming months" and is meant to "empower creative professionals to create cutting-edge advertising as well as engaging web content like sites and applications - for free."
The company shared this news in a sidenote in a blog post about its DoubleClick advertising platform this morning. We reached out to Google to find out more about this project and a company spokesperson told me that Web Designer will indeed be a stand-alone product that'll be aimed at creative agencies and designers.
This description obviously doesn't give us much to go on, but Google notes that the tool will be integrated with DoubleClick Studio and AdMob. Google is clearly going after the "native" ads market, as well (think online brand experiences and sponsored stories), so the connection between Web Designer and DoubleClick makes sense. But it sounds like this tool will be quite a bit more capable and will go quite a bit beyond ads, though Google told me that it's focus will be on creative advertising creatives.
Google's only service for creating websites right now is Google Sites, which allows you to easily create basic sites and wikis from pre-built templates. That product has lingered without any meaningful updates for a while now, so maybe Web Designer will be a more sophisticated replacement for Sites' editor. Update: Just to clarify: Web Designer is clearly not meant to be a website building service for now, but it's easy to envision Google using at least parts of this product in some of its other apps, too.
It'll be interesting to see how competitive Web Designer will be with tools like Squarespace, Weebly or Wix's HTML5 website builder. When it comes to native formats for ads, the standard is now something more akin to the New York Time's Snow Fall than just a basic site, so Google will have to step up its game if it wants to make it easy for marketers to create these kind of experiences.
Build once, run everywhere. Launching Google Web Designer. Build HTML5, CSS3 creative to run across all modern browsers & devices #thinkDCLK
— DoubleClick (@doubleclick) June 4, 2013