Google has launched Open Spot, an experimental Android application to help drivers find parking spots. Open Spot will show parking spots located within 0.9 mile of their location, marked by colored dots on the app's map.
Google has created an experimental Android application called Open Spot to
help drivers find parking spots, a cool tool for time-constrained people who
have neither the time nor inclination to troll for empty spots.
Launched from Google Labs July 9, Open Spot
will show drivers parking spots located within a 0.9-mile radius of their
location, marked by colored dots on the app's map.
Newly vacated spots are marked by red dots, with orange and yellow pins
pointing to spots that opened 5 and 10 minutes earlier, respectively. Parking
spots are automatically refreshed as drivers move around the lots, and spots
are removed from the map after 20 minutes.
Drivers who leave a parking spot must tap the Mark a Spot button on the app
to help fellow users in their quest for parking. In a theme right out of
incentive-based location applications such as Foursquare and Gowalla, those who
do so will earn so-called Karma Points.
Google already has a name for those who try to game the game by calling
attention to spots when there really aren't any: griefers.
"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
However, the app requires regular participation from drivers with fellow
While 100,000 Android phones are shipping daily, it is unlikely these are in
a concentrated area to make Open Spot truly useful and relevant. To wit,
parking lots at Google's Mountain View, Calif.,
headquarters are likely the greatest test bed for Open Spot.
Google is calling on Android phone users to tell their friends and neighbors
to use Open Spot to help make the network "bigger and better for
The company is accepting suggestions for improvements at the email@example.com
e-mail alias, and
from this discussion Web page
AI has already suggested
Google add a parking prices layer to Open Spot.
Another user suggested Google integrate the app with Google Maps Labs. Another
wants the ability to clear a spot they just marked.
Most simply want Google to release an API
for the experimental app.
Open Spot is currently available in the United
and the Netherlands.
Eligible Android phone owners may download the application here
by scanning its QR code with their phone. Users can also download it from the