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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?