Homeless man creates phone application with his Chromebook

A homeless man who learnt to code on his Google Chromebook in just 16 weeks has released his first mobile application dubbed “Trees for Cars”.

Leo Grand spent a few hours a day coding the carpooling application on his refurbished Chromebook while living on the streets. The Android and iOS application aims to save the environment by connecting drivers willing to transport riders to their destination.


The simple interface includes an emissions recorder for environment conscience users.

It begins when the driver chooses a meeting point where the app will suggest nearby passengers. Both parties must agree to the invitation before they are connected to each other. The app also includes an emissions feature which will keep a record of how much CO2 the user is saving by carpooling, encouraging environmental awareness.

Grand says the app aims to create a better environment and a stronger community. 

"Trees for Cars is a great way to build relationships, strengthen communities, help each-other financially and energy wise, all under the umbrella of saving the environment."

The New Yorker has come a long way since he became homeless in 2011, after losing his job at MetLife. He was approached by programmer Patrick McConlogue with an intriguing offer: take $100 or personal lessons in coding.

The two met almost every single day where McConlogue would teach Grand how to program using books from Amazon and a Google Chromebook which was gifted to the student by his mentor.


This device has put Grand back on the road to recovery.

The application is now available on Google Play and Apple's App Store for just $0.99. All money will go to Grand, who hopes to further his career in programming and app development.

Source: Business Insider | Images via Business Insider and Google

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I know a whole lot of such benevolent people who help educating persons in need. Of course I live in a different country where these things happen quite a bit so it might be be difficult fot the US citizenry to accept such acts as real. I know of a lady whose husband works in a very senior post with Tata Consultancy Services, here in Mumbai. Around 11:00 every morning she gathers street kids, read homeless, on a railway platform which is free of traffic for several hours. She teaches them to read and write up to a level of 5th standard ! She pays for the supplies from her own pocket.

The homeless person in the story was previously working for MetLife. So I would presume that he was not a moron, like one of your past presidents. So all that was required was some incentive and a helping hand. There ar plenty of free Wifi hotspots in New York. Finally most of the coding is in text format. All versions of Mac OSes are BSD based. So except for the final act why could it not have been done on a Chromebook ? The story does not claim that it was compiled on a Chromebook. For all you know his mentor may have helped him in that regard.

Just so you all know most of the Cobol rewrite of giant applications for Y2K compliance was done on low end PCs, without using any RAD tools.

The "warm fuzzies" part of me wants this to be a feel good story about a guy getting back on his feet. The "cold hearted" part of me is skeptical that it's a PR stunt on the part of someone. Not necessarily Google either but someone that just wants more exposure - the programmer, his company, that nitrous site, or whatever. I wish Grand all the best though.

It's the NSA. They have everything to gain by making sure Google grows their market share, and that includes Chromebooks (so their can sniff EVERYTHING you do) and even a share your ride phone app so they know whom you associate with and whom goes where.

This is a blatant marketing stunt. Homeless guy would have taken the money and got drunk! The developer is just trying to make some extra money by fooling the people that believe the world has any good to give.... it mostly doesn't!

Quapps said,
This is a blatant marketing stunt. Homeless guy would have taken the money and got drunk! The developer is just trying to make some extra money by fooling the people that believe the world has any good to give.... it mostly doesn't!

That's a very blind sided view and not one i share. Just because someone is homeless does not mean they're an alcoholic.

Nice try Google, nice try..

But it's all a bit too obvious just after the recent slur of Chromebook slamming actions and just inside Xmas shopping deadlines..

Almost.. but not quite.

No they don't! People do things like this for others for something in return or for attention. Sure, drop a couple of quid into his pocket and walk away.. we all do that but this story just reeks of fakeness!

Quapps said,
No they don't! People do things like this for others for something in return or for attention. Sure, drop a couple of quid into his pocket and walk away.. we all do that but this story just reeks of fakeness!

No, they dont. I volunteer all the time, especially around the holidays. My whole family does and I know a ton of others who do as well. They get nothing in return and I get no attention other than a thank you from the people I help. This story originated several months ago. If fake, it would of been proven by now.

Contrary to what you think, believe, or experience...the world is not that terrible of a place and there are still many who know how to act and treat their fellow humans. More so than there are against. But of course, if you think the world sucks and think certain things then that is what you are going to find.

No, sorry, you are wrong! This is a marketing stunt, plain and simple! The world IS that terrible a place! How do you not see it?

Oh hey, I saw this homeless guy and offered him $100 or to teach him a career and get him iff the streets. He took the lessons and we just released his first app under MY account which I didn't know would happen... honest.... anyway, all of the proceeds WILL go to the homeless guy even if it does go into my account first..

Support him and help his life change, it's christmas after all.

Quapps said,
No, sorry, you are wrong! This is a marketing stunt, plain and simple! The world IS that terrible a place! How do you not see it?

You just sound bitter and down on life. If you expect or think bad things, then that is what you are going to experience. I prefer to think, and know there are many good people out there. I see it everyday and I am apart of it.

Not at all, I have a great life, great job and 4 great kids but I am totally aware of the disaster surrounding the world unlike some people who believe that the world can actually be saved by believing unbelievable marketing stunts.

Quapps said,
Not at all, I have a great life, great job and 4 great kids but I am totally aware of the disaster surrounding the world unlike some people who believe that the world can actually be saved by believing unbelievable marketing stunts.

The only one that may have something to gain here is Patrick McConlogue for his startup. That is it. Google has nothing to do with this.

You said originally people wanting something in return. Some, maybe, but not the majority. And if you see the disaster in the world and think that is what the world is about...then you are not seeing the good then.

techbeck said,

The only one that may have something to gain here is Patrick McConlogue for his startup. That is it. Google has nothing to do with this.

You said originally people wanting something in return. Some, maybe, but not the majority. And if you see the disaster in the world and think that is what the world is about...then you are not seeing the good then.

I am saying that this stunt is pulled by Patrick... I never once mentioned Google. This is a marketing stunt pulled by the account holder. It's a no brainer!

I have been both 100% positive and negative about mankind and I can confirm that the results were EXACTLY THE SAME! Your beliefs aren't an accurate depiction of the real world and whilst it's nice that you are slightly blinded by the real stuff it will ultimately make itself known at some point.

Not bashing you for being like that, I am just stating that positive thoughts help your own direction but they don't make good things happen.

Quapps said,

I have been both 100% positive and negative about mankind and I can confirm that the results were EXACTLY THE SAME! Your beliefs aren't an accurate depiction of the real world and whilst it's nice that you are slightly blinded by the real stuff it will ultimately make itself known at some point.

I am blinded because I think there are more good than bad in the world? If that is the case, you are blinded as well thinking there is more bad.

I know there is bad in the world, I never disputed that. I just stated there is more good and people are not always looking for something in return.

techbeck said,

I am blinded because I think there are more good than bad in the world? If that is the case, you are blinded as well thinking there is more bad.

I know there is bad in the world, I never disputed that. I just stated there is more good and people are not always looking for something in return.

There ISN'T and they ARE though. As I said, it's good that you believe what you believe but unfortunately that is not the real world.

Quapps said,
what you believe but unfortunately that is not the real world.

According to you. You have no proof that is the norm for the world. I dont think the norm is good either but I do believe there are more good than bad. Why? Because that is what I see and give out. Your experience may differ but the FACT is, there are many people out there that will do things for others because they are a good person.

techbeck said,

According to you. You have no proof that is the norm for the world. I dont think the norm is good either but I do believe there are more good than bad. Why? Because that is what I see and give out. Your experience may differ but the FACT is, there are many people out there that will do things for others because they are a good person.

According to you though...

Quapps said,

According to you though...

According to me what? You claim people only do things in return for something else. You cannot prove this. I claim there are many that will do things because they are kind/caring people. This I can prove.

techbeck said,

According to me what? You claim people only do things in return for something else. You cannot prove this. I claim there are many that will do things because they are kind/caring people. This I can prove.

You claim that there is more good than bad!

Quapps said,

You claim that there is more good than bad!

Because I think so but I didnt say that people only do things because they are good people. I see both the bad and the good but apparently, you are only seeing the bad thinking that people just want something in return. You seem to think the world is all bad which again, that is according to yo and what you see.

And does doing something for someone and getting anything in return a bad thing? It is still a good deed and it helps a person out. Bad is what people try to do with and spin a good story.

nickcruz said,

that's what they'll like you to believe...

Wow, just...wow. So I guess all those Windows Dell laptops my company donated to charity/schools earlier this year was a big marketing stunt for Dell and Microsoft and not because my company wanted to do a good thing.

techbeck said,

Wow, just...wow. So I guess all those Windows Dell laptops my company donated to charity/schools earlier this year was a big marketing stunt for Dell and Microsoft and not because my company wanted to do a good thing.

Haha, ahhh the benefits of doing something good and not telling people about it... oh, wait!

Quapps said,
No, sorry, you are wrong! This is a marketing stunt, plain and simple! The world IS that terrible a place! How do you not see it?

I feel sorry for people who are as jaded and stubborn about it as you. Nothing in this story points to a marketing stunt, and trust me, i call it when i see it.

There is more good than bad in the world. The problem is the empty vessels make the most noise.

Quapps said,
Haha, ahhh the benefits of doing something good and not telling people about it... oh, wait!

I said that to prove a point. I did not mention my companies name or where we operate from.

Nice try

Spicoli said,
Clearly Chromebook viral marketing or why even mention it?

Its a humanity piece. Just because someone's product is mentioned, doesnt meant its intention was for marketing. Google has nothing to do with this and did not spearhead anything here.

If this goes viral, it is because its a human interest piece. Problem with the world these days is when someone does something good for someone else, it is interpreted for other reasons.

Spicoli said,
This is the saddest viral marketing stunt ever...

Even if it's a stunt (which it's NOT) it helped the homeless guy to get back on his feet.
You want to know what a marketing stunt is? Go watch that video about Windows vs Chromebooks.

Ha, how dumb do you have to be to not to detect the PR stunt here to promote the Chromebook. Guy is homeless but had a Chromebook, an internet connection, developer accounts for App Store and Play Store and was taught to code. And I'm very curious about this "app" that he made using just a Chromebook seeing as there is no SDK and compiler application that works on a Chromebook.

AsherGZ said,
Ha, how dumb do you have to be to not to detect the PR stunt here to promote the Chromebook. Guy is homeless but had a Chromebook, an internet connection, developer accounts for App Store and Play Store and was taught to code. And I'm very curious about this "app" that he made using just a Chromebook seeing as there is no SDK and compiler application that works on a Chromebook.

exactly my thought. oh... google.... deception deception

trojan_market said,

exactly my thought. oh... google.... deception deception

Right?! You obviously smarter than most of the readers here! Can't believe that idiots would fall for the stupid publicity from Goodles.

No...when coding with the help of a developer..you can just code(type with a keyboard, design )..compilation and deployment is difficult to anyone, so what chances that the dev did it.
or worse that dev outsourced it to a poor american homeless.

I thought the Chromebook was so useless that it can't run Photoshop. Guy should have gotten him a Surface Pro instead. That way he can run Photoshop or other day to day programs like Auto CAD that average users use these days.

/s

Nice. Wish more people would help the homeless like this. Hope this app takes off, or at least makes him some money to get his life back on track. Homeless are not always lazy and more often than not, they are willing to work. Just fell on hard times.

Not in this way tho. Lots donate money and food but not many take the time out of their lives to help them. And the homeless that wont take the help...those are the ones I call lazy and not wanting to better their lives....like I stated originally.

It's not what you know but who you know, who will then teach your what you need to know...

Good on him he deserves all the success he gets.

Good on him, Hope some Company recognizes him and takes him on-bored and so he can get his life on track and then (Maybe)help others with his new founded skills

Steven P. said,
What a nice story

I would say what a fake story. let say somebody threw away a chromebook and he picked it and somehow got internet connection somewhere. and learned to code. Question is how a homeless guy have developer account for AppStore and Playstore? and how a chromebook is capable of running iOS and android SDK? Think twice. google marketing for chromebook?

Geezy said,
Did you even read the story? Help and resources were provided by someone else.

I did read it. Do you want me to believe someone can develop iOS app on Chromebook? and publish an iPhone app without having iPhone or the emulator? comeon, google is fooling everybody I can see.

Tangmeister said,
How does Google have anything to do with this if the Chromebook was supposely not involved?

exactly, dark side of google marketing, using a mac or whatever and a developer and a fake homeless guy to do the marketing for chromebook. people say OMG if a homeless guy can do this much with chromebook why can't I? good case of marketing deception if someone has time to investigate if you ask me. They can start with the homeless guy background. If a homeless can be this smart to learn to code with only 100$ course so how could be homeless, he can get a job.