Hello World @ PennApps-XVI

A multilingual messenger app

Hello World @ PennApps

Hackathons are a great place to learn, brainstorm and show off your technical skills in an accelerated atmosphere. This month, with my friends @akshay2626 and @SidAShah, I participated in our first Major League Hackathon at PennApps XVI.

At this hackathon we came up with an idea to build a multilingual messaging app on android, attempting to reduce the linguistic barriers in communication among people across the globe. The motivation behind this idea comes from the fact that as international students we have had opportunities to interact with people from all over the world. A common observance is that most people feel comfortable in messaging in their native languages and sometimes even hesistate in contacting others just because they might not be comfortable speaking a common language.

To overcome the language barrier and connect people with common interests we made the app Hello World which allows users to search people with common interest topics and send/receive messages in languages of their preference.

As a user you simply sign in with Google, select your interests in user profile and preferred language (say English) from the list of supported languages. At next step you can search users on one of the interest areas and send them a message typed in English. The other user receives the message in their own preferred language (say Spanish) and can reply back in any language they wish to (not necessarily Spanish) which gets delivered to you in English.

This app is a combination of simple ideas, Google text translation API, Google Firebase Realtime Database, Google Cloud Data Store and the Google App Engine (and of course our team work :sunglasses:). Although we could not make it past the second round, it was a great experience demoing at PennApps which attracts the best student hackers and showcases some brilliant problem solving ideas. This was my first extensive use of Google Cloud Platform for developing and deploying an application, so a good familiarity with GCP was gained on that front and a pleasant experience going around the UPenn campus, The Wharton Business School and the famous Ben on the Bench (Benjamin Franklin’s statue).

The source code and devpost submission of Hello World app for PennApps can be found on following links: