Barry spotted this via Twitter: Google has, somewhat quietly, launched a Product Ideas Blog. A related effort is the company’s solicitation of ideas and their prioritization from users in a voting area. The first focus is on mobile.
Users first must be registered but then can review, propose and vote on different ideas. The object is to generate and surface the top ideas and then, presumably, build them out. There are already lots of ideas there to peruse.
Here are a few chosen at random (unedited):
- “Products Search in google maps. gmaps should show for every shop: the price, the location, the distance, the way of payment and opinions of other users.”
- “Ability to use voice search in mobile app to search and dial contacts”
- “A feature to update route in Mobile Maps upon taking wrong exit or different route than displayed on application.”
- “i want to be able to see my friends on maps on my phone”
The launch of the Product Ideas Blog and related voting probably isn’t a coincidence as Google reportedly cuts back on under-performing products and its “20 percent time” initiatives, which generated many Google products in the past. Google CEO Eric Schmidt was quoted in the WSJ not long ago:
The company will curtail the “dark matter,” he says, projects that “haven’t really caught on” and “aren’t really that exciting.” He says the company is “not going to give” an engineer 20 people to work with on certain experimental projects anymore. “When the cycle comes back,” he says, “we will be able to fund his brilliant vision.”
Accordingly, user-generated product ideas and voting may help substitute for curtailed 20 percent time efforts. And voting provides the added benefit of indicating the ideas that have “legs” vs. those that are less compelling — though such a system isn’t foolproof. Participants and voters are likely to be “geeks” and “early adopters” rather than mainstream users.
Yahoo’s long-standing Suggestion Boards serve a similar purpose.