One Year Later, Google's Project 10^100 Lives! But Overwhelmed Google Needs Your Help.

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Screen shot 2009-09-24 at 2.22.04 PMEvery so often, we get pinged about Google’s Project 10^100. The program, which asked for ideas that could change the world which Google would in turn put money towards, launched exactly one year ago (in honor of the company’s 10th birthday). But voting was meant to start in October of last year and conclude in January 2009. That never happened. People started to question if Google was quietly letting the ambitious project die. It wasn’t. And today it’s back.

With a post on the Google Blog today, Google has let everyone know that it was simply overwhelmed by the response it received about Project 10^100 (Google’s Marissa Mayer has made comments recently saying the same thing). Over 150,000 idea submissions came in written in 25 different languages. Google says it took over 3,000 employees around the world to go over all of them. But they’re still not done. And they need your help.

Because there were so many submissions, Google has decided to group them together into 16 different overall theme ideas. And starting today, they’re asking you to vote to help figure out which of the 16 themes the project’s advisory board should be looking at to pick the 5 projects that will get funded.

In its post, Google notes multiple times that this process has taken much longer than anticipated. It’s taken so long, that it’s actually surprising that they didn’t turn to this crowd-sourcing method earlier for help. The fact that 3,000 employees were tied up in this seems rather insane.

Still, the project remains a good idea and the themes seem interesting. So go vote and help Google let their employees actually go back to their regular jobs.

Voting will end on October 8 (two weeks), at which point the the advisory board will pick the five finalists which Google will then reveal. Then it will ask for proposals from individuals or organizations that want to help implement these ideas.

Here are the 16 themes:

  • Enhance science and engineering education
  • Create real-world issue reporting system
  • Promote health monitoring and data analysis
  • Create genocide monitoring and alert system
  • Make government more transparent
  • Provide quality education to African students
  • Help social entrepreneurs drive change
  • Create real-time natural crisis tracking system
  • Build better banking tools for everyone
  • Collect and organize the world’s urban data
  • Work toward socially conscious tax policies
  • Encourage positive media depictions of engineers and scientists
  • Drive innovation in public transport
  • Make educational content available online for free
  • Build real-time, user-reported news service
  • Create more efficient landmine removal programs

Update: As Andrew Mager notes in the comments, this also appears to be Google’s first use of reCAPTCHA the anti-spam service that also aims to help digitize books.

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