Google seems on board with the wisdom of the crowd and perhaps a little innovation management. And now they share the ability to do both with you by making available an API for their Google Moderator.

What is Google Moderator?

Well, from we can tell, it's a combination crowd sourcing, innovation management tool the company has used internally for some time now

...for meetings and to collect feedback from Googlers on events or happenings within the company. It is also used at conferences and other events to organize and draw upon the collective wisdom of the participants."

There's all the basic idea management functionality within this tool:

  • Discover existing ideas, questions or suggestions
  • Vote for ideas, questions or suggestions and see the aggregate votes to date
  • Create new series asking for ideas, questions or suggestions organized by topic, event or meeting

Use It With a New API

And now you can build the Google Moderator functionality into your own applications with the Google Moderator API. Note that the API does not work with the Moderator found within Google Apps. It only works with the non Apps version found here.

Some people have already put the API to work. It was integrated with Google Wave for Google I/O, allowing users to submit questions. Each session had a Google Wave and inside that wave was a Moderator Gadget:

Google Moderator Integrated with Google Wave

And someone else created an Android moderator client so people could participate via their mobile phone:

Google Moderator on Android

Adding Google Moderator To Your Application

You can add the Google Moderator to your website or web application using some basic code on your page, but it requires iframes and you are limited to the existing interface. Using the API will allow you to create a more custom integration.

It's a pretty interesting piece of capability. With innovation management becoming recognized as a required capability for organizations, this is one way to get it up and running quickly.

The Google Moderator is free to organizations with Google Apps, you can find it in the new Google Apps Marketplace. But as we said earlier, this new API isn't available for versions used within Google Apps.