Step right up, everyone’s a winner. Over the July 4 weekend, Google launched its new Prizes.org website; released in Beta format. The crowd-sourcing competition site promises cash prizes for the best answers to user-created questions.
The new site is the latest in Google’s barrage of product launches. Though Prizes.org doesn’t carry quite as loud a Google branding as some of the other products, the site has the standard Google privacy agreement and is operated by a company Google purchased last August named slide.
Users are required to log in using either their Twitter or Facebook accounts, though it’s surprising that the new Google+ social network or even Google accounts aren’t linked to Prizes. Once signed up, users enter the latest in competitive solution-based social gaming. Anyone can create a contest where others can solve problems or offer advice. As incentive, contest creaters post an amount in cash for the contest winners expertise.
Prizes is a chimera that resembles Quora’s question-and-answer with craigslists’ gigs board. The lists of competitions have various time limits and cash prizes. Examples include: eight days and $10 for the best “Soul Tunes” mixtape, 19 days and $50 for designing a tattoo and even $100 for the best poem about sea otters. The visitors use the time allotted to vote for the best submissions.
Slide, purchased by Google for $182 million, is a social gaming company that has put out some iPhone apps including a group texting app called Disco. The company was founded by PayPal’s Max Levchin and is being run as an autonomous Google unit which would explain the lack of branding in Prizes as well as the Disco group texting app.
This isn’t Googles first foray into the question-and-answer service, which may be another reason why the company doesn’t want to slap its name all over it. Google Answers was shut down in 2006 after a four year run. However, prizes seems to have much more potential and offers a more consumer friendly atmosphere though it also seems like a site ripe for spammers and trolls.