Google's mobile focus testing is the least creepy use of a white panel van

Offering apps, not candy

Google is coming to a state near you and it wants to throw you into the back of its white van. No this isn't a kidnapping attempt, the search company just wants you to try some apps.

The company is using the van to help it break out of its Silicon Valley bubble. The van will make multiday stops in seven states, stopping near colleges, libraries, parks and some of Google's own regional offices in hopes of finding out how average Americans are using the company's multitude of digital offerings.

Its custom-built, white van drive on a cross country roadtrip in an effort to break out of its Silicon Valley bubble. according to the Associated Press. The van will make multiday stops in seven states, stopping near colleges, libraries, parks and some of Google's own regional offices in hopes of finding out how average Americans are using the company's "multitude of digital offerings."

Google hopes to invite 500 would-be volunteers inside to interact with apps and other Google products on their smartphones, all so that researchers can non-creepily watch them. It'll take anywhere between 15 and 90 minutes, and there's no mention of a two-way mirror. In fact, in exchange for being observed as the illusive everyman, volunteers will get some sweeting Google swag including T-Shirts and gift cards.

The urban experiment is all part of a goal to take Google's Silicon Valley laboratory out on the road and get the opinions of people outside of the San Francisco Bay area.

"We are trying to understand the whole end-to-end experience," Google researcher Laura Granka, said to the Associated Press. "Which is why we are trying to get out to more locations and see more people."

The Google Van will start its trip in New York and travel to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, from March 14- 18; Clemson, South Carolina, March 21-22; Atlanta, March 23-25; Boulder, Colorado, April 4-8; Salt Lake City, April 11-15; Reno, Nevada, April 18-20; and South Lake Tahoe, California, April 21-22.

Google said if the trip proves to be insightful, it may send more mobile labs to other cities across the US and even hit the road in other countries. It's like the Google Maps project all over again.

(You can find an image of the van on The Associated Press)

Via Gizmodo