Google has finally whittled down the more than 150,000 ideas submitted as part of its Project 10^100 to 16 themes that will compete for $10 million in funding.
It's taken far longer than Google had originally anticipated, but the results of the company's 10th anniversary project to solicit ideas that could change the world are ready for inspection. Google is asking the public to vote on the most worthy of the 16 "idea themes" that it has identified from the submissions it has received over the past year.
Google had originally planned to choose individual ideas, but was "overwhelmed" by the number of submissions, which took 3,000 employees to properly vet, according to Google spokesman Jamie Yood. In addition, many of the ideas were extremely similar or overlapping, so Google decided to emphasize project categories that resonated with the company, rather than individual ideas.
Some of those themes, and Google's comments on those ideas, follow below:
• Enhance science and engineering education: "Users from many countries agreed that encouraging science education was an ideal way to (ensure) the brightest future for technology development itself."
• Create more efficient landmine removal programs: "Fund global organizations that are developing efficient strategies for landmine detection and removal...Numerous suggestions for this topic include robotic, human, and animal-facilitated detection strategies."
• Create real-time natural-crisis tracking system: "Make rapid-response crisis-mapping data available to help policymakers better coordinate response efforts during hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters."
• Work toward more socially conscious tax policies: "Fund the most promising efforts to make the tax system more transparent and better at supporting societal sustainability and development...User ideas in this category highlight tax policy as a perhaps surprisingly fertile area in which intelligent, data-driven analysis could make a huge difference in the effectiveness of the public sector."
Now that the themes have been chosen, Google is asking the public to vote on the best ideas, the results of which will be submitted to a committee that will pick up to five ideas for funding. Google will undertake a RFP (request for proposal) process in order to solicit companies or organizations that can implement the chosen ideas, and those groups will receive the money.
Voting ends on October 8.