SciTech

Google asks students for gadgets

The Internet just got more creative — for university and college students across the country, at least. Google Inc. recently announced the beginning of the Google Gadget Awards, in which students will be able to submit their versions of virtual gadgets.

Gadgets are typically simple tools with an interface for users. They can vary from something useful, like a calculator, to something more fun, like a piece of artwork.

Though the technological giant receives search requests from every continent, including Antarctica, Google isn’t just in the search engine business anymore.

Google currently offers users the chance to personalize their computer desktops and Internet blog spaces with Google Gadgets.

“It’s about being innovative and creative, and putting all of your skills to use to create something that would be of value to someone,” said Rachel Garb, a Carnegie Mellon computer science alumna and Google employee.

The competition is open to all college and university students. Garb said that advanced programming skills are not required. “I’m not really that much into programming, and I created one,” she said.

Competitors can submit gadgets in two different types, desktop gadgets and universal gadgets.
Desktop gadgets can be downloaded to a user’s desktop. Google currently offers users the ability to check the temperature, and play a quick game of checkers on their home computer desktop.

But Google Gadgets aren’t only limited to the desktop. Universal gadgets can be placed on a user’s webpage or blog.

“We think that homepage gadgets are great for people who want to check things all the time,” said Sunny Gettings, a PR representative for Google.

The gadgets will be judged across eight categories, including “best overall desktop gadget,” “best overall universal gadget,” “gadget most likely to get you a date,” and “most intelligent gadget.”

Randal Bryant, School of Computer Science dean, will be judging “most addictive gadget.”
“CMU is one of the great institutions for engineering, innovation, and creativity,” said Garb. “We want to have CMU students get a taste of the kinds of things they can do at Google.”

The submitted gadgets will be available online for mass use. Garb said that the gadgets can be anything a competitor can dream.

“It’s so open,” said Garb. “The more creative, the better.”