Looking for an open parking spot? There's an Android app for that. No, there's no iPhone app, only an Android one; sorry, for once Android has a leg up on the iPhone.
Indeed, it's called Open Spot, and it could prove really useful to folks in parking spot limited locales. It's a Google Labs app, which means it's experimental, so keep that in mind.
Users of the app let folks know when they are leaving a spot. Google marks the open spots on the map with red pins for newly opened spots, orange pin for spots that have been open for more than five minutes and yellow pins after ten minutes. After 20 minutes, the spot is removed from the map. Those living in San Francisco might think 20 minutes is a little generous, and Google acknowledges it on their Open Spot FAQ page
For those who are competitive, or just like a pat on the back for their good deed, you can earn “karma points” for broadcasting your open spots. Your karma points are displayed in the app (as shown above).
The app only went live Friday, and Google already has taken into account the fact that some folks might have a perverse sense of humor and mark spots open that are not. The Open Spot team has already named them: griefers.
We’re watching for behavior that looks like a griefer spoofing parking spots. We have a couple of mechanisms available to make sure someone can’t leave a bunch of fake parking spots. If we see this happening we will take steps to fix it.
As with anything like this, to be truly useful, it needs to have a lot of users. So grab the app and start pointing out your "open spot."