Google Blogoscoped

Friday, April 4, 2008

Google’s Chinese Partner Adds Community Forecasts

Chinese social site LaiBa has an apparently new feature: community-based forecasts (also see the English auto-translation, from which the screenshot above is taken). Lai ba means “come here” and is a part of the Google-powered site. Xujie in the forum explains this service “allows you to predict the possibility of an incident.” Xujie adds that the the possibility “is changed when people bid for it” so that it can “show people’s confidence index about something and forecast the future.”

Internally, Google also uses a “predictive market system” to try forecast “product launch dates, new office openings, and many other things of strategic importance to Google”, to quote from a Google blog post on the subject.

A classic introductory work on the subject is the book The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki. Wikipedia in regards to this book explains the thesis that “a diverse collection of independently-deciding individuals is likely to make certain types of decisions and predictions better than individuals or even experts.” The article adds that four elements are needed for a “wise crowd”: diversity of opinion; independence; decentralization; and aggregation.

[Thanks Xujie and Jérôme!]


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