Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Think you know the future of tech? Wanna bet on it?

some interesting news: Yahoo has started an online game, allowing people to bet on what kinds of online technology they think are going to become huge in the future, and which are going to fizzle out and die. Based on popular "virtual stock market" games that have been around for years, participants get an imaginary $10,000 when they sign up, which they can then "invest" in the particular technologies they think will become explosive in the near future. The intriguing thing, though, and what makes it such a smart promotion for the company, is that the means by which different technologies are valued is tied directly into how many people around the planet are searching on that subject at the Yahoo search engine. They use as an example the issue of podcasting; if MTV's "Total Request Live" was to start a podcast, for example, and suddenly millions of teenagers jump on Yahoo to find out more about podcasting, then your "investment" goes soaring through the roof. It's free to play, and it's not just bragging rights at stake - they're giving away a bunch of prizes, too, like Mac Minis and others, although I'm not sure if it's to random players or those who specifically do well. (Thanks to MAKE magazine for pointing this out.)