You are never too young to innovate — and when it comes to software products, learning and doing can go nicely together. Which is why Google decided that any quest to unearth cool, new ideas in India must begin with college students.
A nationwide contest among computer science students drew entries from nearly 100 teams of between 2 and 5 members each. After assessment, 12 were supported by Google with a grant of Rs. 50,000 each, so that they could buy any software or tools required to execute their ideas.
“We wanted to encourage and celebrate the innovative talents of young Indians — but we have no agenda beyond that ... there is no Google tool or product they are obliged to use. The seed money gave them the freedom to use whatever software they wanted,” explained D.R. Prasad Ram, Head of Google India R&D.
The top prize of Rs. 5 lakh went to the team from IIT-Bombay consisting of Aman Parnami, Prekshu Ajmera, Sanchit Garg and Vipul Shingde, for “Collaborate-Draw,” a web tool that allowed multiple users to jointly work on drawings, charts and blueprints. Trying out the tool, this correspondent found the palette of draw and paint options easy to use and as good as the best of the commercial offering out there.
The first-runner up team, which took a Rs. 2.5 lakh prize, was also from IIT-Bombay: Ankit Gupta, Chinmay Jain and Raghuvar Nadig, created “Polls,” a tool which helps set up your own online opinion poll, quiz your friends or your community of the like minded and, most usefully, analyse the results at lightning speed in multiple ways.
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