Google is giving away $10 Million through Project 10100 (pronounced as "Project 10 to the 100th"). The money will go to fund between one and five ideas that will help humanity in a great way.
The guidelines are extremely loose for this project: They would prefer submissions in one of the following eight categories: Community, Opportunity, Energy, Environment, Health, Education, Shelter, and "Everything Else" . . . So even if your idea doesn't fit into the seven extremely vague categories, they are still willing to accept it.
Sure, those very basic guidelines are great and leave it open to your own creativity, but what sort of idea are they really looking for? The example Google offers to us is the Hippo Water Roller, which essentially looks like one of those heavy rollers used to even out landscaping, but filled with healthy drinking water. This allows people who have to transport their water supply to easily roll 24 gallons of water at a time, compared with a 5 gallon bucket of water on top of the head.
You can upload an ancillary video to YouTube to help you express or display your idea, but the meat of the presentation must be filled out via the web form. Google has put out a video presentation for their project:
How many people could your idea help?
All you need to do is submit your idea via the website before October 20, 2008. The submissions are reviewed and on January 27, 2008, 100 ideas will be voted on by the general public/Webosphere. The top 20 submissions will then pass to an advisory board, who will choose between one and five ideas, which will split the $10 Million prize equally.
For those looking to get rich from their ideas, you might want to look elsewhere. As the site's FAQ says:
Q: What do I get if my idea is chosen?
A: You get good karma and the satisfaction of knowing that your idea might truly help a lot of people.
The $10 Million is not going to the people who come up with these ideas. The money is going toward the development of these ideas to help make them a reality.
If coming up with a great idea to help the world just isn't your "thing", you can always try to win the $30 Million Lunar X Prize that Google has also posted. For that prize, you'll have to do a lot more than come up with ideas, though. $30 Million goes to the first team to send a robot to the moon, have that robot travel 500 meters along the moon's surface, and receive back video, image, and data transmissions here on Earth. You might want to hurry on that offer, though: 13 of the teams have been working on this since September 13, 2007, so you've got some catch-up to do!