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This article was published on July 9, 2010

Google launches Android app to help you find empty parking spots

Google launches Android app to help you find empty parking spots Image by: KURT LANGER
Chad Catacchio
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Chad Catacchio

Chad Catacchio is a contributor writing on a variety of topics in tech. He has held management positions at a number of tech companies in th Chad Catacchio is a contributor writing on a variety of topics in tech. He has held management positions at a number of tech companies in the US and China. Check out his personal blog to connect with him or follow him on Twitter (if you dare).

Android just got that much better: Google has just released an Android app called Open Spot that lets users leaving parking spots share their spots with other users searching for parking. How cool is that?

It gets cooler. Open Spot has three degrees applied to a parking spot based on the amount of time since it was marked as open wit red pins for new open spots, orange for spots that have been open for over five minutes and yellow for over ten. After 20 minutes, Google takes down the open spot (Google also acknowledges that 20 minutes, especially in densely populated areas, is a long time for a spot to stay open, but they counter that with a “the more info the better” argument – we’ll have to see if people get a bit of parking rage when they show up 18 minutes later and the spot is gone).

Google even has a name for people that falsely mark spots: “griefers”, saying:

“We’re watching for behavior that looks like a griefer spoofing parking spots. We have a couple of mechanisms available to make sure someone can’t leave a bunch of fake parking spots. If we see this happening we will take steps to fix it.”

Oh, and Google also might have just added a new dimension to check-ins: on Open Spot, you earn “karma points” for telling other people about your open spot. So maybe this is kind of like a reverse check-in… Karma points are also prominently displayed on the app.

This will be a very interesting app to watch, and hopefully it will graduate out of Labs quickly (note: we had heard about this idea before from Google, but now it’s a reality).

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