Google Partners with Startup Weekend

Yesterday, Google announced a partnership with Startup Weekend – a global organization committed to promoting real entrepreneurship in local communities.

Organizers of local Startup Weekend and Google Technology User Groups (GTUGs) will be working together to run pre-Startup Weekend “Google Bootcamps.” These bootcamps are designed to help attendees develop their technical skills so they can jump head-first into their Startup Weekend project.

If you missed the last Startup Weekend event (September), you can read more about that event here: http://lagos.startupweekend.org/

The First GTUG-Lagos Hangout

We had such a good time on Saturday that it’s been decided this should happen more often.
The event took place at CcHub and kicked off a little late – at 11:25am with Googlers – Luizella Mazza, Richard Ngamita and our very own Emeka Afigbo all joining us via Hangout.
We also had a couple of other people like Chinedu and Abayomi Ayoola join us over the net as well. And we went through a session led by the Googlers which talked about the current features and limitations, new additions and future roadmap of the Google+ api.
Two photos from the event:

Next in line was the “Android App in 15 minutes”. Well it took a little longer than 15minutes (about 25) as we debated the actual implementation of certain parts of the application. The app is named – My501Quotes – it displays a new famous quote, wise saying, facts e.t.c. every time the app is launched or the user clicks on refresh. Furthermore, the user is also able to share any of those quotes with friends via Facebook, Twitter, Email and SMS. The sourcecode code is attached to this post.The GTUG-Hackathon:
To help inspire active developer participation, it was unanimously decided on Saturday that we should have a hackathon before the end of the year. While many of us have participated in different events like WaterHackathon, Tech-in-Governance, Startup Weekend, Garage48 e.t.c., this will (as far as I know) be the first one being driven by a clearly defined and growing community of developers – the GTUG. More information of what the focus areas are, when the event will take place, modalities, e.t.c. will be available soon.
We then moved to talk about the current initiatives, competitions and drives by companies – namely MTN, Nokia and Samsung (arranged in alphabetical order). They each have different plans but one goal in mind – growing and tapping into local content app developers.
MTN is currently running a monthly competition the best apps in each month are rewarded with Samsung Galaxy devices ( 1st and 2nd positions) and they have plans to launch their own app store by January, with some of these apps in the forefront.
Samsung has also indicated interest in helping developers push their apps and are particularly interested in local content apps and apps directed towards corporate organisations.
Nokia is constantly also running competitions – the Nokia Create for Millions (and the Regional one for West Africa) which has been running for some time and a few members have already submitted their applications for it.
All in all, they believe that growing the local developer base is a sure way to tap into the the rapidly emerging market for mobile applications in Nigeria.
Lastly, we had Bosun Tijani, Co-founder of CcHub talk about CcHub as a pre-incubation space to help connect, incubate and accelerate tech ideas. They have also made the hub available for future GTUG events.
If you participated in the event via hangout or were physically present during the event, please fill the short questionnaire sent to your mail help improve future events.
Next GTUG Event:
Another GTUG event is being planned for the 26th of this month. More details shortly.Hope to see you at that next event!

Source code for My501Quote [Click on Download Original for Entire Source Code]

Other Links:

  1. Google+ API
  2. Controlling a Laser Turet from a Google+ Hangout
  3. MTN App Competition
  4. Samsung Developer Interest
  5. Nokia Create for Millions
  6. Abiodun Thorpe’s blog post on event

Things to have in mind as the deadlines for the Google Android Challenge Approaches

As the deadlines for the Android Challenge approach we should bear the following in mind:

July 1st is the first deadline, this means that latest by this weekend, you should have settled on your ideas as you will have less than a month to put it all together for the first submission (which is less than a day in developer land)

If you feel that your project idea is small enough for just you or a small team (that you should have already selected) to work on then you are good to go and should have already gone far in hashing out your app.

If on the other hand you think that your idea is something that is bigger than you given the timeframe, you may want to consider looking for team mates that would help you acheieve your goals faster. Several of us have put up links that can help us put our ideas out there and source for team mates (remember, time is short, you should have finished this step by now, in case you have not, you can look here and here),

If your team has three or more members, you may want to look at ways in which you can work together remotely. A good idea would be to set up a repository online (you can use git or any one of your choosing depending on your needs)

Again if you are in a team and like many people are tied up in school work or work-work and can hardly find time to collaborate, you may want to consider organizing a mini-hackathon preferably on weekends to get things rolling. This will come in particularly handy in the initial stages of the project as you struggle to overcome inertia.

Depending on what the response is, the Lagos GTUG could organize a hackathon for interested parties to polish up their code sometime after G-Nigeria where we could try and get our resident Android gurus to assist those who may have questions as they code.

Again, if you are in a team or trying to form one, remember that you may need more than just android skills in your project, particularly if your project has a cloud component. Skills like PHP, python, J2EE, html and even technical writing (yes, documentation is key) could come in handy.

Also take out time to learn the best practices in Android application development, many of them are spelt out in the videos on the Anroid developer challenge CD. Like we said before, a limited number of these CDs are available for collection/copying. For information on how to get/copy it send an email to gtuglagos@gmail.com. Note that the contents of the CD are also available online, so if you have a fast internet connection, you can also download the content online.

We would like to wish everyone well as they embark on their projects, looking forward to seeing interesting submissions.

Google Technology Open House 23rd April 2011

Its happening again folks!
We are finalizing arrangements for the next Google Technology Open House in Lagos.
It will be taking place in the same venue as the last one (University Of Lagos Akoka).
The theme for this open house will be centered around mobile applications and the Android platform.
So make sure you keep 23rd of April free….and we gurrantee you that you will not regret it!

Lagos GTUG holds open house at University of Lagos



The Lagos Google Technology Group held its first open house at the Centre for Information Technology in the University of Lagos.This event was basically a forum that allowed those of us who are interested in Google technology to have some face time with Googlers and hear from them first hand in a semi formal environment.There were a total of 5 Googlers on hand and a total of more than 30 attendees which was pretty impressive considering that it was a work day.The event was fun filled and interactive with everyone eager to join and contribute.


The event kicked off with a talk from Ben, a project manager with Google who walked us through the Google corporate philosophy (the famous “Ten things).
Next we had Ayite ( a Google Engineer) take us through the fundamentals of Google App Engine.

To round up the talks Bridgette (Google Program manager for West Africa) took us through a number of tools that we could use to maximize on our innovations, these included the likes of:

After this came the most interesting part of the evening…when the floor was thrown open for questions and they came flooding in.They included questions like:

  • Why are PHP and Ruby not supported on Google App Engine?
  • Does Google have an equivalent of YQL (for Yahoo)?
  • What is the Google software development lifecycle like?
  • Does Google App Engine have any tool that makes it easy to build RESTful web services?

and much much more,

The discussion became even more passionate when we discussed what the challenges that preventing developers in this part of the world from maximizing and monetizing their innovations.
The event closed with some light refreshments after about 2 hours of intense interaction.
Many many thanks to Bridgette, Lanre, Ben, Ayite, Fiona for making it a wonderful event.

Watch this space for more info on Google activities around here starting with one in Unilag within the next one month and of course the BIG ONE!!!G-Nigeria in May 2011!