Just this week, Google has joined the parking app bandwagon by announcing that they are launching an application to help users find parking using location-based technology. We have already reported on location-based applications a couple of times over the past two weeks (see Parking embraces new parking technology and Other wireless parking applications). See also our January article Apple and Yahoo working on parking technolog about similar technology companies filing for patents for available space tracking parking technology.
Open Spot, the Google app gives users the ability to update a map as they leave their parking spaces with others who are looking for parking.
It relies on people marking their parking spots on a Google Map via their phone when they pull out of their space; the map will then display the ‘Open Spots’ within a 1.5km radius of where the searching driver is, colour-coding spaces based on how ‘fresh’ they are. Spots are marked for twenty minutes and after that time, they disappear off the map.
Obviously there are quite a few drawbacks to the system – inherently this relies on people providing information to others (that they are leaving a parking space) with no short-term benefit for themselves; and there is also no guarantee of a free parking spot when the searching motorist arrives at the identified location on the map.
It’s not quite the ultimate solution; in our opinion some of the other applications we’ve blogged about over the past few weeks have come up with better solutions for GPS-based parking availability.