Google & Active Theory Partner Up For Paper Planes App

In celebration of International Peace Day 2016, Google’s Android Team has partnered up with development team Active Theory to launch an app called Paper Planes which was previewed during Google I/O this year. The app essentially lets you launch a paper plane from the digital space on your smartphone screen out into the world, allowing it to be caught by someone else around the globe on their own device. With the app, which Google states is available through Google Play but also as an Android Experiment, users can fold up their own paper plane and then launch it outward by using a throwing gesture, but not before adding a stamp with their location. As an added bonus, users will be able to see their plane flying into the screen after being thrown if they visit the desktop website prior to tossing the plane.

As planes are tossed out others can pick them up, add their own stamp, and then toss them back out with the rest of the planes where they’ll continue flying around until someone picks them up again. The more people that grab a plane, the more stamps that get added to it which gives users the opportunity to check out where their planes have been picked up. For example, a user could toss their plane out into the world and then come back to it a few days later, use a gesture like they’re catching something with a net to grab their plane, and then view every place it’s been thanks to the added stamps where it’s been picked up by others.

Users will know when their plane has been caught thanks to the use of Firebase Cloud Messaging, which was baked into the development of the Paper Planes app. When a user creates their plane and tosses it out into the world, as soon as another person catches it and adds their stamp, then tosses it back out again, Firebase Cloud Messaging alerts the user with a notification to how many miles it’s traveled and how many cities it’s been through, so whether it’s being caught for the first time or it’s seen quite a few cities around the globe, users will see their paper plane’s destinations every step of the way. The development team also implemented a background service that checks periodically to see how long it’s been since a user has opened up the app, and if it’s been more than two weeks they’re nudged to come back and make a new paper plane to send out. Paper Planes, which can be picked up now, utilizes features from Android Nougat such as rich notifications to “augment” existing web technology like javascript and WebGL. It’s not an extremely functional app that’s going to help you prioritize your tasks and collaborate with your colleagues, but it should be a fun little activity to participate in.

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Justin Diaz

Head Editor
Lover of food, craft beer, movies, travel, and all things tech. Video games have always been a passion of his due to their ability to tell incredible stories, and home automation tech is the next big interest, in large part because of the Philips Hue integration with Razer Chroma. Current Device: Google Pixel.
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