[ISN] Google hosts programming code-off

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Wed Feb 06 2002 - 22:50:47 PST

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    By John Borland 
    Staff Writer, CNET News.com
    February 6, 2002, 5:10 PM PT
    Step right up, programmers and hex-slingers: Google's got $10,000 for
    the most creative coder among you.
    The geeks'-choice search engine is sponsoring its "First Annual Google
    Programming Contest," offering $10,000 to the person or team that can
    come up with the best software program for compressing, organizing,
    linking or otherwise manipulating a mass of raw search data.
    In return, Google gets to keep the idea--forever. The company won't
    pay any royalties, although the winner can sell it to anyone else who
    wants it.
    On a Web site notice announcing the contest, Google says it's doing it
    for fun, "in celebration of more than three years of delivering the
    best search experience on the Internet." Any wildly profitable ideas
    that come out of it would just be a fringe benefit.
    "We wanted to give people, especially students, a chance to do fun
    stuff themselves," said Uls Hoelze, a "Google Fellow" who is helping
    lead the project. "We want to encourage people to be creative."
    Online contests have been a mixed bag in the past, occasionally
    stirring up trouble.
    Most notoriously, the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) offered
    $10,000 to hackers who could break the security technology it was
    planning to add to digital music files. When a group of Princeton
    researchers promptly did so, SDMI threatened to take them to court if
    they actually told anybody how to do it, setting off another string of
    legal wrangling.
    Google's contest is more of an old-fashioned code-off, however. The
    company is providing anybody interested with the raw search data
    representing about 900,000 Web pages and a basic program for
    interpreting that information.
    What's next is up to the creative minds of the programming masses. The
    company suggests a few ideas, such as better ways to compress the data
    for storage purposes, to organize it or to identify links. Presumably
    a creative coder could instead figure out how to translate the pages
    automatically into Dutch or make an animated Lion King sing the
    appropriate URLs.
    "Part of your job is to convince us of why your program is
    interesting," the company writes. "Other than that, you're free to
    implement whatever strikes your fancy."
    The winning entry may be added to Google's portfolio of Web
    applications, but there's no guarantee. Teams interested in the prize
    can enter as many times as they want, and all entries are due by April
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