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Google’s 10^100 “Contest”

September 28, 2008 | 1 Minute Read

Google’s 10^100 “contest” sounds like a pretty cool concept. Basically it’s crowdsourcing ideas for the best ways to help the most people, then $10 million dollars from Google goes to fulfilling those ideas.

I put “contest” in quotation marks because the media seems to be portraying the thing as “submit a great idea and win $10 million!” But that’s not really the case at all. The “winners” of the process will win nothing (except “good karma” as Google explains) and the job of making the ideas into reality will go to some organization chosen through an RFP process. So really, the people who will benefit from the ideas (and whichever organizations get the $$$) are the real “winners.”

I guess this process makes the most sense, but I have questions about how an organization would be chosen (it’d need to be done very fairly, non-biased to US-centric ideas, non-imperialistic in origin or intent). Also, where is the incentive, besides karma, for people to submit ideas? There’s something to be said about social entrepreneurism. If it’s really a great idea, others should be able to take that and do something really positive while also making money. If that’s the case, maybe Google can choose to fund startup companies that can execute the idea. I think that’d be a really cool angle to hold an actual “contest” of sorts.

I’ve been thinking about what kind of submission I would send to Google. I think it’d be for:

A non-evil search engine whose mission would be to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. One that doesn’t censor any of its results and doesn’t do business with governments that engage in censorship.