Of all the brilliant ideas that have come from cloud sourcing, Gigwalk has to be one of the best. The company, which launched no more than three months ago, allows people to find “gigs” through their iPhone.
The gigs mostly consist of local mapping and imagery jobs. A user logs into the Gigwalk iPhone App, searches for gigs in their area, and can see odd jobs including taking restaurant pictures for local search, validating that a street is one-way, or even reviewing a local hotel.
The pay ranges from $3 to $90, depending on the complexity.
Gigwalk and Cloud Sourcing
Behind Gigwalk’s business model is a trend toward “cloud sourcing,” which allows companies to take advantage of immediate, hyper-local labor needs for odd jobs located anywhere in the world. Recently, Microsoft partnered with Gigwalk to source thousands of jobs, mostly to improve its own search engine, Bing. Users can submit pictures of local restaurants, attractions, for a reward equal for a few dollars.
A recent Bing deal paid users to take panoramic views of local restaurants with Microsoft’s Photosynth app.
Earlier, GPS maker TomTom posted thousands of jobs to improve its database of construction delays, detours, and street signs. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company can post jobs for Gigwalk users in the United States, who can confirm, in real time, TomTom’s assumptions about roadways.
TomTom doesn’t have to worry about 1099s, employment laws, or any of that nonsense, and the cost to account for thousands of users is balanced across Gigwalk’s many clients.
Future for Mobile Crowdsourcing
I’m interested to see how this develops. I came up with a few possible uses for Gigwalk:
- Curbing customer complaints – Frequent calls to a customer service line upset McDonalds. The HR department at HQ hires someone on Gigwalk to go to the store, and slap the manager.
- Repos – A bank wants to repossess a car, but the borrower is 100 miles away from the office. To make the trip worthwhile, it posts a job on Gigwalk to confirm that the employee is at work, where the car can be repossessed while the employee is slaving away at their 9-5.
- Vending routes – A local vending machine company realizes that the cost of gas cuts into their normally thick margins. To reduce overhead, the company decides to outsource its route to Gigwalk users, who check the levels of the gum machines once per month and report with a picture of the gumball machines. It costs the company $3 to get the task done, but saves them $10 in overhead.
The uses for Gigwalk in a corporate environment are limitless. Unfortunately, the app is only available for iPhone users, but something tells me their millions of dollars in VC money and orders from Microsoft will force them to bring an Android version to market very, very soon.
Photo by: jdn