Posted December 15, 2011 7:58 am by with 2 comments

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Google does several things, well, make that a lot of things really well. There is no mistaking the fact that they are a very strong company and perhaps even too strong for many people.

One thing they do really well is to get end users to do work for them. Here’s where the asterisk in the title comes into play:

*The headline says you can WORK for Google but it really is semantics since you actually DO work FOR Google and it’s, of course, for free.

Google’s cachet allows it to get people to do a lot of their work for them. People do for a variety of reasons that you can figure out. The latest effort is to make Google maps better. How can YOU do that FOR Google? Use the new Map Maker of course.

Map maker is very cool for sure. In the Google Lat Long blog we read

With Map Maker, you can easily help ensure that the changing world around you is accurately reflected on the map. Add your favorite gift shop, the nearest tree farm, or even the golf course where you once got that hole in one. It’s also easier to mark the best route to Grandma’s house and draw better buildings with courtyards and crisper corners. The options are endless when it comes to mapping the places you know and love. Once approved, your contributions will appear on Google Maps, Google Earth and Google Maps for mobile for all the world to see.

Now don’t get me wrong. There is nothing bad or unethical about what Google is doing to enlist the services of unpaid volunteers to improve their product so they sell ads on it. The bottom line is that if people want to do the heavy lifting then all Google has to do it check up behind then it’s a free world it should happen. Google doesn’t totally dismiss these contributors. They had a top contributors gathering in recent months which was a nice touch.

In the end though Google can pul this off because people want to contribute to something bigger and usually don’t have the chance to be found. Take this instance from the Google post about a high school kid in NC.

You don’t have to be an expert to start using Google Map Maker. High school student and Eagle Scout Tommy Bruce is a mapping superstar who finds mapping fun, fulfilling, and a simple way to help those in his community have the best, most comprehensive information possible. He started by mapping bike trails in his hometown of Mooresville, North Carolina and is now on an exchange program in Puebla, Mexico, mapping unmarked rivers that run through town! After witnessing Tommy’s accomplishments firsthand at the U.S. Geo User Summit, even his mother Margaret began thinking of places that she’s eager to put on the map.

Maybe he’l get a job with Google someday after he meets the academic alphabet soup standards that are a pre-requisite to working there after answering mind bending questions. Or maybe, just maybe, Google would hire based on talent without the pedigree? Nah, now we are probably talking about an idea that would only appear in the Google Fantasy Maker.

  • fg

    uhm well okay. Thanks that we can do all that for free but is the data we’re contributing “for free” also freely available? I mean – under one of the free-licences and not just “free to look at but not to use”

  • Mark

    I’ve just included Google maps on this world city maps website and I’d like to let visitors to modify the maps of their own cities. Is that possible on my website or they need to go to Google Map Maker?