Google released the beta version of its new “Web Designer” tool for authoring online ads in HTML5. Like most tools released by Google, it is available free of charge.

Our staff gave it a quick spin and it didn’t take long before we were able to come up with beautiful graphics enriched with 3D animation. It works perfectly with our HTML5 web appliances as well as the AnyTiles video wall solution. This is no doubt one of the easiest HTML5 tools available for serious content creation.

We were quite happy with the playback performance of the content running on one of our media player appliances. It played far better than those created with the Adobe Edge Animate tool, which required a fast CPU to run properly. For most uses in digital signage, we feel the performance delivered by Google’s tool is close to hand-crafted HTML5 code skillfully designed to take advantage of hardware acceleration.

Here is a highlight of functions possible with the new tool:

  • Easy layout of pictures, text, and vector graphic, including snapping and alignment
  • 2D and 3D animation, including scaling, rotation, and fades, coordinated by key frames
  • Built-in controls for interactive picture gallery, video, and even maps
  • Advanced customization via full CSS tags and event-based JavaScript programming

From an IAdea player, one can easily configure a “content source URL” so the player boots directly into your HTML5 signage content.

It is not difficult to create great looking digital menuboards, event signs, community bulletin boards, and retail ads (Google’s initial goal was to make a tool for web and mobile ad creation). We feel this is the first time a free tool has gained the sophistication and potential to disrupt the digital signage industry.

There was a time when digital signage vendors provided proprietary and highly integrated tools for content creation, network management, and media playback. In the past three years we have seen rapid changes induced by HTML5: complicated players replaced by simple appliances, network management by lightweight cloud storage, and now finally, content authoring done with this free tool.

You should never again argue digital signage is expensive to do.

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This article is also available at http://www.digitalsignagetoday.com/blog/11295/New-Google-tool-could-have-a-deep-impact-on-digital-signage