I approach a new Google Maps mashup I've been tipped off about called Ask500People that greets me with the following message that reads:
In 1 Minute we'll be asking 100 random people on hundreds of websites around the world, "Should music be free?"
..I wait for the countdown to conclude and a Google Map appears with the question posed as the title and a poll indicator to the top right. As I watch the map it immediately auto-centers on a voter in France who votes Yes. Then the map quickly shifts to the Philippines, up to Japan, races across to Canada, then down to the US. As I watch in real time Ask500People is actually mapping the live locations of people as they vote on this particular question. This is cool.
60/100 Votes are in and the Yes is winning by a narrow margin - 53%.. China, Mexico, New Zealand....
As I wait for the 100 votes to continue to come in from around the world I decide to check out the "About Us" section of the site:
"..Diverse, decentralized people voting independently are better at predicting future events or trends than individuals, small groups or even domain experts. There are tools for surveying groups of independent voters, but they're either slow, expensive or both. We built Ask500People to gather input and opinion data in minutes instead of days, and to create a platform that other applications can integrate."
A Korean voter says No, as a US voter says Yes....
Ask500People does require you to be logged-in to vote but this takes just a few seconds - Once you've done this you can vote, as well as pose questions. Take a look through recent polls under the "Recent Questions" box..
The Poll wraps up and a "Done!" flashes up beside the title question. Of the 100 worldwide voters - 54% say Yes and 46% say No to music being free!
This entire poll took as long as it took a few songs to play on my headphones and about as long as it took me to type the above text. Pretty quick and entertaining to watch. Color coded pins let you glance at the map and notice concentrations of voting and see what countries collectively feel a certain way. This is a fascinating mashup that gives you the opportunity to find out how the world feels on various topics in real time! Go ahead and pose your own question, then watch the map!