Although I love visiting busy cities like San Francisco, one of the major drawbacks is the hassle of finding a free parking space. Once again, the masterminds at Google have attempted to resolve this problem for the general public. They have invented an application for all Android phones called Open Spot. This application opens a map of the surrounding area you are currently located in and displays all of the nearby open parking spaces using little colored dots. Although in theory this sounds like a good idea, it is based solely on the good will of others and their willingness to take the time to “mark a spot.” Google allows for people who are departing from a parking spot to update the availability of this spot through the app by pushing the “mark a spot” button.
This application definitely has its upsides. For instance, it has the ability to save both time and gas, as well as prevents frustration by eliminating the need to circle large parking structures and stalk individuals heading towards their parked cars. However I feel that Google is in under the false impression that people, especially in busy areas, will take the time or even remember to use the mark a spot feature in order to help out their fellow parking searchers. My opinion is further supported by the fact that Google offers no real incentive for people to mark open parking spaces other than awarding them karma points. These points serve no real purpose except to offer the users emotional satisfaction. This is the main reason I feel that this app will not succeed in practice. However, if Google can figure out an effective reward system then perhaps this app will actually provide the convenience it promises.
I am one of the many people who constantly stalks returning shoppers at busy malls in order to find an opening parking space, so if I were to ever purchase a Google powered phone, I would definitely make use of this app. Therefore, I feel that there are lots of current Android users who would be very interested in download this app as well.
Links: Google Open Spot
I agree with your comments. There must be an automatic way to indicate the “occupy status” of a parking slot. Perhaps an inductive loop, like the one traffic engineers use for traffic statistics !! It is an high initial investment, but will pay off in the long run for any city parking lot operator !!