Recently Google let Chrome users donate by browsing. With ‘Chrome for a Cause‘, users can donate vaccinations, trees, books by accumulating the tabs in Chrome: the more tabs you open and use, the more donations you can make.
I like this activity, even though I still have some doubt about how such donations can happen. The reasons I like it is that people’s behavior is influenced by this activity. Now whenever I open a new tab in my Chrome, I cannot help looking at the number of tabs shown in my browsers (and yes I am also calculating how many trees I can donate today). At the end of a day, when I make the ‘donations’, honestly, I feel so good.
So, how does it work? I will try to describe it with a *research* tone.
1) It collects data from people’s everyday world (surfing the web);
2) The data is given meanings (how frequently you use Chrome, how many donations you can make, etc.);
3) The data is visualized, serving as peripheral information within people’s workspace (a small icon in the browser);
4) The most importantly, people’s behavior is influenced (use Chrome more frequently so you can make more donations).
My personal belief is: good research should be similar to this, with these four characteristics.