In their effort to gauge and fulfill the needs of their users, Google has launched a new website for product ideas and a blog to support it.
As the name suggests, Google Product Ideas will offer users the opportunity to provide suggestions and ideas for new products they would like to see from Google. Other users can then vote for or against any idea.
To begin with, the site is only seeking out ideas for mobile search.
Users can submit new ideas or vote on them by signing in with their Google Accounts. The ideas that receive the maximum affirmative votes will then be seriously considered by Google, and in time may actually be developed for use by cosumers. Google will, of course, not be compensating its users for the ideas they provide.
Google fans seem to be quite thrilled with this opportunity to express their needs to Google, and have already started providing ideas and voting for or against them in large numbers. The site has already recorded over 2,000 ideas and over 100,000 votes.
Among the most popular product ideas received so far, is the request to ‘Manage the Google Calendar on Google Mobile’.
Some of the other popular product ideas include:
- The ability to see the geographic locations of one’s friends on a map on the phone. This feature is already available on the Apple iPhone and T-Mobile G1.
- Spoken driving directions on Google Maps.
- Showing the location, distance, prices, accepted modes of payment and opinion of other users for local stores, restaurants and hotels.
- Voice search in mobile apps to search and dial contacts.
While this is a great way for Google to judge in advance whether or not an idea will be well-received by the public, it also has the added benefit of saving them some money, as their engineers can spend more of their time on developing and fine-tuning products that have already received public approval, rather than starting from scratch and seeing whether or not a new application will be accepted.
The disadvantage, though, is that Google’s competitors and a whole lot of other mobile application developers will also be able to tap into this resource and could beat Google to the punch by delivering better solutions quicker as each of the vast number of providers worldwide might just concentrate on one product / feature.