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<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/einstein-google-logo-at-google-kirkland.jpg” />Who doesn’t love a contest? Contests, sweepstakes, challenges, usually come with the lure of a free prize; and the word “˜free’ is the ultimate sweetener. Open contests are really popular and we don’t need our very own GIVEAWAYS to tell us that.
If you regularly trawl the net for online contests, then you must have bumped into a few hosted by Google itself. Google is quite a hand at playing games too but the online Google contests are not about turning up and walking away with a door prize.
Some are built around special events, some are annual. Some events have already passed us by and we can only wait for the turn of the dates when it comes back. This post is about keeping an eye on when the next cool Google contest comes along; and spreading the word so we don’t arrive late at the party. Here are some of the Google contests to keep a watch for.
Doodle4Google is perhaps the most well known (and loved) of all the Google contests. We as adults can’t participate because it is meant for K-12 students of U.S schools. If you have one in your family, prod him towards this drawing competition. All he needs is a bit of creative flair to design the Google homepage logo – The Google Doodle.
This year’s theme was “If I Could Do Anything, I Would “¦”. The year’s winner walked away with a $15,000 college scholarship to be used at the school of her choice, a trip to New York City for an event that was on May 26, 2010, a laptop computer, a Wacom digital design tablet, and a t-shirt printed with her doodle on it. The contest is closed for the year, but you can be sure that the next one will come along.
Google Code Jam is an annual programming competition hosted by Google. It is open to coding professionals and student programmers who are asked to solve complex algorithmic challenges in a limited amount of time. What’s more open about this Google contest is that they can use the programming language of their choice. This year’s contest is over and Code Jam Champion was richer by $5000. The next year’s Code Jam finals will be held in Tokyo, Japan. If you like sushi, watch out for the dates early next year.
The site gives you a Quick Start Guide and also access to all codes and solutions which can be used as educational tools.
This Google contest is based on Google SketchUp. It is open to all. Showcase your design skills by 3D modeling structures you think are necessary to show the planet what’s special about your town. You can “˜recruit’ your own team of up to six members. The models can be placed on Google Earth to make them more geographically relevant. This year’s winning town was Barranco, Lima, Peru. The prize among other things was USD$10,000 for the town’s public school district.
This one is for the students who have a yen for marketing. You have to manage and update a Google AdWords campaign using sound marketing principles. The 2010 Google Online Marketing Challenge saw 3,000 students from 70 countries taking part in the global online marketing competition. Pre-register for the 2011 contest now and pit your brain for the chance to take a free trip to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California to meet with the team that developed AdWords.
Build a mobile app for the Android platform and walk away with cash prizes like $100,000 for the top podium finisher. ADC 2 got over recently, but you can keep your eyes peeled for the next one. All you have to do is develop an Android app and submit it to one of 10 specially-designated ADC 2 categories. Sounds easy.
You get to improve the maps of your local area via Google Map Maker and do some social good in the process. Adding geographical features helps organizations in their work. The competition winner can help UNICEF net $50,000 for a local area project on empowering youngsters. The last competition ran for a year from December 15, 2009 to January 31, 2010.
Though this project started in 2008 and is now closed for voting, it’s an example of what can be done for social change. In simple terms, this contest was about a call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible. Participants could submit their innovative ideas for social change in categories like community, energy, environment, health etc. Google’s part is to select the winning ideas and help them come to life by investing $10 million. The winning ideas haven’t been announced yet, but you can check out thethat made the cut.
Okay, you aren’t going to win this one easily. The Google Lunar X Prize is the Big Daddy of all the contests that Google supports. With its avowed intention of sending a robot to the moon (also travel 500 meters and transmit video, images and data back to the Earth), you can be sure that this contest is going to there for some time to come. The winner’s jackpot – a cool $30 million.
These contests are definitely not all. Some more like the mind-tickling Da Vinci Code Quest or the Street View Trike competition come along once in a while. It’s just that you have to keep Google on your radar 24×7 to take part in them. When you come across a cool Google contest, give us a shout.
For more from Google, take a look at these Google tools and app that you may have overlooked.