Google releases Open Spot for Android -- Find and share parking

Finding a parking spot just got a little easier, thanks to Google's new Open Spot app for Android.  The concept is simple enough, fire up the app to see what spots are near (.9 mile radius) you, and the color of the pin tells you how long it's been since someone marked it.  Red means 'freshly-marked', orange pins mean the spot was marked 5 minutes ago, and the yellow spots are older than 10 minutes -- after 20 minutes they disappear. 

Speaking of marking the spot, the application is driven by the idea that you mark open spots you find, and lady karma rolls back around to help you find one when you need it.  And before you let those devious ideas loose, Google claims to have their own method of dealing with 'greifers' -- people who mark spots when there are none.  As of now, this app is Android only; no word on a web version or cross platform availability, but I imagine that this won't stay exclusive for too long.  Hit the jump for the download links.  [Google OpenSpot via TechCrunch]

Google Open Spot

[Market link | AppBrain]

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • Interesting app. Since I work in downtown San Jose, I'll test this out during lunch time.
  • Great concept. In SF this could be useful. City garages should be able to post how many available spaces. Maybe also identify what restrictions there are, meter, street cleaning, time restrictions and when they start and end etc. how about posting a pic of the open space ala street view.
  • Interesting idea, I just wonder how many people are going to go through the trouble of marking open spaces. I also wonder how marking works. Is it GPS based? If so, marking spots while inside a moving car would be a virtual impossibility.
  • Marking in a moving car just begs for trouble anyway. But since nav programs are fairly precise, and work in moving cars, I question your assertion.
  • man this will help me out sooooo much in d.c., another great idea google, keep it up!
  • is this android 2.1 and up again? i can't find it on my my touch 3g!
  • I can't believe this thing isn't a widget. I can see this being great at events (ball games, etc) or any OLD big city, but it is only useful if it is current, and it will only be current if there is something besides carma (see what I did there?) in it for the high-karma users. Perhaps the higher your Karma the sooner you see a spot, like a minute head start. But the Karma assigned has to make some sense as well: The higher the number of current open spot markings in a given radius the less valuable each marking should be. Open spot markings in Mall parking lots are of little value compared to those on a busy city street. Without some inventory of available space in a standard radius an open spot may be totally useless. (Can google leverage SAT images to detect parked cars in neat rows (parking lots) and down-weight those markings?
  • From the OpenSpot Forum: *Open Spot **requires Android 2.0 and is only available in the US, Canada,
    and the Netherlands right now.* So now you know...
  • I live and work in suburban Phoenix, so this app is not going to be of much use to me on a day-to-day basis. Still, I love the thinking behind it: use the power of the crowd to gather and organize information that would be impossible to collect otherwise. This is exactly the kind of life-problem-solving ingenuity that people expect out of Google and, by extension, out of Android devices. @icebike I like your idea of early access for high-karma users. I think it would also be a big help to mark open spots as metered/unmetered and a short comment field to warn users of puddles, potholes, spaces where only compact cars would fit, etc. It would also be great to have a "Claimed!" function that automatically deletes the open spot once a user's device has detected that he/she has parked there.
  • Sounds awesome...oh wait, 2.0+ required? Nevermind...maybe one day if Motorola ever figures out what's holding up 2.1 on my Cliq. I had to - and it's not like me to complain much, but come on already...