The Google's, ‘Neighbourly' app was launched this May to help users relate to their neighborhood. It is a Q&A app to help learn about the people nearby by asking questions. It began its trial version in Mumbai, India, followed by other cities.
You can begin asking questions and answering from the people in your area after you log into the app and set your location and the neighborhood. Google's long presence in India enables its search bots to retrieve information in your area soon, but the basic idea behind the app is enabling the exchange of information through human interaction. This can happen by offering alternatives to answers, walking through your options, and sharing tips that you won't find on search results pages.
Users have come across many interesting results for their queries. Neighbors came to know about unknown stores and in some cases unthinkable options. Like searches for a grocery store gave results of even farmers offering organic produces in the vicinity. Some of them were seen using it for photo walk and exchange of books.
Questions put across by other users can be followed to get alerts as and when they're answered. You also earn points and score medals for your profile by answering questions and approving responses. The app interface is easy for quickly scanning through loads of questions, and is convenient enough to use without having to go through a lengthy tutorial.
There doesn't seem to be a defined territory for a particular neighborhood as people from very far away have answered to questions put in the app. The service is yet to garner users to restrict its audience to individual neighborhoods. And in many cases, the response time is as long as an hour or so.
After the launch, Google has added features to the app, like the ability to switch between multiple neighborhoods and send notifications with advice on how to frame your questions to get more responses.
What would be interesting to see is how Google would be using this service, and what it would be doing with the data acquired from its users. Perhaps it could mine the data for analysis and sell it to local businesses or use it for targeted ads.
Now it has begun operations in Delhi and Bangalore as well. The app is soon to be available Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Indore and other cities are also on the waitlist.