Recently Google India Labs announced Google Noticeboard. Google Noticeboard is an application targeted towards not-so-technical public for sharing information. People can create text messages or record voice snippets and post them to one or more digital noticeboards. Google Noticeboard allows user to engage in public communication with communities without much technical know how.
According to Google's CEO, this could be the "poor man's email." I personally would rather call it "poor man's wiki & email." This seems an excellent idea to me and can do the same to the villages that wiki has done for general Internet collaboration. Communities with access to shared computers can use this application for exchanging messages related to community announcements, social interactions, local buying and selling, and information that is of wider interest to the community. This is probably first social media initiative of its kind which bring collaboration and communication to Indian villages.
It works as Firefox plug-in and I visualize having Kiosks in villages having Google Noticeboard pre-installed more like bank ATMs. Seeing the application design, I can guess that is definitely one of the objectives. Though the success seems a distinct future and the first priority for Google should be create technically better application. User interface and usability is going to be key for this application and more attention is required to make it user friendly. Presently the application seems confusing and difficult to use.
Though we must congratulate Google for such an initiative for Indian villages. I wish Google all the best and success for this application.