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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Passing the torch: 10^100 Ideas

Project 10^100 is over. Now that Google has finally "launched" the project, this campaign has become irrelevant. I remain disappointed in Google's bungling of the project, but this platform is no longer the place to protest Google's actions. This post marks the end of Project 10^100 Now's communications.

Although this is the end of Project 10^100 Now, it is only the beginning for the protest against the new, crippled Project 10^100. 10^100 Ideas is attempting to circumvent Google's project entirely by gathering the ideas for public display and discussion. If you're unsatisfied with Google's handling of Project 10^100, submit your ideas, join the Facebook group, and follow the Twitter updates. Together, we can prevent the Project 10^100 ideas from fading into obscurity.

Author's note

I was not involved in the creation of 10^100 Ideas, and I will be a standard participant like everybody else. Of course, that doesn't mean that I've given up on internet activism. Project 10^100 Now won't be my last advocacy campaign. I'll see you on the internet!
— Evan Kroske

Friday, September 25, 2009

Google opens voting for neutered Project 10^100

Google has finally opened voting for Project 10100. Unfortunately, this isn't the Project 10100 that was initially announced last September.

Google has abandoned its initial plan in favor of a more closed, less ambitious plan. Instead of allowing us to choose among 100 concrete ideas submitted by individuals, Google presents only 16 broad categories for which to vote:

  • Build real-time, user-reported news service
  • Drive innovation in public transport
  • Make educational content available online for free
  • Create more efficient landmine removal programs
  • Help social entrepreneurs drive change
  • Make government more transparent
  • Provide quality education to African students
  • Create real-time natural crisis tracking system
  • Promote health monitoring and data analysis
  • Enhance science and engineering education
  • Create real-world issue reporting system
  • Create genocide monitoring and alert system
  • Work toward socially conscious tax policies
  • Build better banking tools for everyone
  • Collect and organize the world's urban data
  • Encourage positive media depictions of engineers and scientists

Although Google lists below each category the more concrete ideas that inspired it, they never commit to a specific implementation for any category. In fact, the only commitment Google makes is to dispense $10 million to up to five organizations chosen by its advisory board; it doesn't even promise that the board will choose the five most popular categories.

Project 10100 had a great deal of potential, but Google has turned the project into just another token charity gift by a major corporation. Thousands of people with world-changing ideas have essentially been told "Look elsewhere for your funding; we don't think your idea can make a difference." I know I'm not the only one who's disappointed.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wild speculation: Project 10^100 finalists announced tomorrow?

Because there has been no news about Project 10100 since CNET's unverifiable "within a month" comment, I have decided to manufacture some news about the project. What follows is wild speculation and shaky logic; I have absolutely no knowledge of when Project 10100 will launch beyond Mayer's "this fall" comment.

According to Wikipedia, Google was officially founded September 4, 1998. Google celebrated its tenth anniversary in September of 2008, starting with a blog post about the future of search posted September 10. I believe Google is most likely to announce the Project 10100 finalists either tomorrow, the fourth, or next Thursday, the tenth. I believe the announcement will take place on or between those two dates.

What do you think? Is your secret Google source favoring a late September announcement, or is your inner Google sense telling you that November is the month?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rumor: Project 10^100 news within a month

Yesterday morning, Tom Krazit of CNET announced that Google will release a Project 10^100 update "within a month". According to Krazit, Jamie Wood, a Google spokesman, said "We received over 150,000 ideas from users which far surpassed our expectations. We've never managed a project like this and it's taken much more time than we imagined to judge and sort through the ideas."

Krazit also noted that Google's 11th anniversary is within that timeframe. According to Wikipedia, Google was incorporated September 4, 1998. I think September 4 is the earliest date we could hear the announcement.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Googler's take on the Project 10^100 delay

I asked the opinion of the Google Blogoscoped forum about Project 10^100 Now and participated in an interesting discussion. It appears that most people are satisfied with Mayer's "this fall" comment and the current schedule for Project 10^100.

However, I also received some good news from the Google employee JohnMu. Apparently, Google employees from across the company came together to sort entries for Project 10^100. My mental picture of twenty taking an hour a day to evaluate proposals was completely off the mark.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Progress Report: We need your help!

Project 10100 Now is in trouble. The website and Twitter campaign have failed to generate enough exposure to elicit a response from Google. The web traffic spiked on the first day to 250 people and dropped precipitously after that. Yesterday, only 20 people visited the site. We need a major boost to reach critical mass.

If this project is going to succeed, you must help. First of all, we need you to ask your favorite tech blogs to write about us. If you look around most tech blogs, you'll find an email address or contact form for submitting tips. If you don't know of any tech blogs, you can pester Engadget, Mashable, Ars Technica, and Google Blogoscoped. We also need you to promote Project 10100 Now through social media like Digg, Slashdot, and Delicious. You can do that easily with the "share" link at the bottom of the site or in the sidebar of this blog.

Please don't limit yourself to the promotion methods I've mentioned here. If you can think of an off-the-wall campaign or a crazy publicity stunt, we'd be glad to hear it. Of course, the project could also be saved by a polite letter to a local news station or a flyer on a college bulletin board. We need any help you can provide; one person could be the difference between failure and success.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Google announces vague Project 10^100 start date

Although we would have liked to receive an specific start date for Project 10100, Marissa Mayer, VP of Search Products & User Experience at Google, has announced that Google will be making some announcements regarding Project 10100 this fall. In an interview with Digg yesterday, Mayer said "We'll be making some announcements coming up this fall to close the process, get the public vote going, and ultimately decide on the winning idea or ideas."

Immediately before that, she offered two explanations for the delay: Google had to sort through the "huge response" and Google has to judge the feasibility of the ideas "to make sure that they can actually happen." Before now, I hadn't considered that Google has to gauge the possibility of all 100 ideas before they announce the finalists.

For example, one high-profile idea called ColaLife plans to use Coca-Cola's massive distribution network to distribute live-saving medicine to poor children. Before placing this idea on the finalist list, Google must contact Coca-Cola to see if they will cooperate, estimate the cost of implementing the idea, and gauge the probable effect of the idea. That's a significant task for even one idea, much less 150,000.

However, I'm not ready call this project a success. "This fall" is not an acceptable time frame; Google should announce a specific date. If they misgauge the date, they can delay it again, but until they commit to a date, they have no incentive to prioritize the project. By announcing a deadline, Google will become accountable to the public for any further delays. After 135 days of indefinite delay, Project 10100 badly needs accountability.