Monday, July 7, 2008

South Africa Google Gadget Competition

Google are starting a Google Gadget competition in South Africa, pitting UCT up against Wits. Here's another chance for us to show our dominance at UCT. The competition was first run in East Africa, and now we're getting the next one. The prize includes a trip to the Google engineering office in Zurich for a dinner with the Google SA team.

Gadgets are interactive mini applications built using HTML, with JavaScript, Flash or Silverlight for dynamic behaviours that live inside a web page. Think of them as Facebook applications that can be used on any web page. Practically anyone can add a gadget to a website they have built, but many are used on iGoogle. Millions of people worldwide use iGoogle every day. Just look at the collection of existing gadgets ranging from a simple clock to the Google Talk gadget. More info is available here.

David Harper from Google is giving a presentation of the competition at UCT on Thursday 24 July (date and venue TBD). The other important dates are:

July 21, 2008 Registration open
August 15, 2008 Registration close
August – October, 2008 Students build gadgets
October 31, 2008 Gadget submissions due
Mid-November 2008 Winners announced

I've created a Facebook group which you should join to discuss the competition further if it catches your interest:

Some more info directly from Google:

We're looking for the next generation of gadget developers in South Africa and to reward the university in South Africa where outstanding creativity meets state-of-the-art technical skills. This year we will have one university in Johannesburg and one university in Cape Town compete against each other.

Students who wish to participate to the contest will register and submit their ideas for what they think will make a great gadget from July 21st through the submission form below. Each proposal should explain what the gadget does, who would use it, and why it will be successful, as well as adding some details about how the gadget will work.

Students will then have until October 31st to work on creating the gadget. The deadline for submitting a fully-functioning gadget is October 31st. We'll communicate the link through which students can submit their gadgets at a later point in time.

After the deadline a committee, composed of Google engineers as well as some preeminent tech personalities from South Africa, will judge the gadgets.

The overall winner together with some runners up will win some of the following prizes: A trip to Google engineering offices in Zurich, Switzerland, dinner with Google SA team, visibility and PR. All will receive an iGoogle gadget certificate.

The winning university will be publicly announced by Google and will also receive an iGoogle gadget certificate.

If you have some technical skills, and are enrolled in a Bachelor's, Master's, or PhD course in 2008 at the University of Cape Town or the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, we would love to hear your gadget ideas. Please submit your gadget idea through the registration form below.


  1. So the fact that you are Google Student Ambassador and that Stellenbosch isn't participating have nothing to do with each other?

  2. You've openly admitted before that Stellenbosch is lazy, so none of you guys would've entered anyway. :-P

    More seriously though, no I had no say in the matter. If I did I actually would have tried getting you guys involved as more competition is always more fun.

  3. This is different though, we have a lot more people interested in web programming than algorithmic problem solving. Plus you don't need to run around trying to find 4 people (and a girl) that will offer up their time.

    Oh well, we can always beat you next year >=)

  4. I had to read this post twice. Did I miss something? Oh yes, the prize money :P! Winning a trip to Zurich is cool and everything, but not enough to get me to spend 3 months on project. I'd prefer some form of monetary compensation for my efforts, to be honest.

  5. You miss that competitions like this are mostly for enjoyment and look very good on your CV. Coming from Africa it's not easy to get into a position matching our talent internationally -- this competition helps close the gap. It's what got me into Google and NVIDIA. :)