Google Web Hacks provided nearly 50 students with 24 hours to build any web application using Google technologies.
ICS Student Council (ICSSC) hosts web hackathons — 24-hour charges to complete a web-based application — every winter quarter, but this quarter they observed the fruitful innovation that comes with Google’s input.
Google Web Hacks, held Feb. 28 to March 1 in contemporary workspaces at the Irvine Real Office Center, provided nearly 50 student participants with 24 hours to build any web application using Google technologies. Such technologies ranged from Google’s application program interface for Drive and Calendar, to applications from Google’s App Engine.
ICSSC and Google’s collaboration was born out of student council president Delian Petrov’s dual position as UC Irvine’s Google Ambassador. With this connection, as well as Google’s agreement to send an engineer to judge and provide a tour of the Irvine campus to winners, “it seemed natural that Google technologies would be the focus of the hackathon,” said student council treasurer and historian Dalton Kraatz.
In a bright and open workspace, complete with fun soda label-inspired meeting tables, participant teams collaborated through the night on innovative web applications. One student team built a flashcard extension to Google Docs, while another designed a parking spot exchange website.
Judges Dan Frost, an informatics professor in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, and Google engineer Antonio Bianco dubbed a Google Doc author tracker extension the winning application. The extension furthered the functionality of Google Docs’ revision history, color-coding each author’s contribution to the collective document. “The team marketed it well, noting that it helps argue reduced credit for group projects,” Kraatz said. “A common issue for partners and groups with one or more non-participating team members.”
While Google Web Hacks was a successful standalone event, it also helped ICSSC prepare potential participants for their upcoming HackUCI event. Kraatz noted that Google Web Hacks was “great practice” for attendees, as it allowed them familiarity with the hackathon environment and Google technologies. “We hope that this will lead to their further use in later projects,” he said.
View photos from the Google Web Hacks event here.