When we describe crowdsourcing to another person, the most likely three categories we mention are microtasking/microlabor, like Mechanical Turk, Crowdfunding on sites like GoFundMe, and Open Innovation on sites like Innocentive...then we make some passing comment about collective knowledge and Wikipedia. However, we all know that there's more behind crowdsourcing than just these few models that have created a market for themselves.
There are many places where the crowd is oozing through the cracks. Let's look at a few of the less popular topics and the growing niche applications of crowdsourcing.
Perhaps the single most important topic that does not see wide coverage in crowdsourcing is social-search, where askers & answerers are paired by interest. There are a few early players in this game including Quora, perhaps the most used, Ledface, which incorporates artificial intelligence, Jig, which focuses on its entire community, and others like Ask.com, etc.
All of these sites and services are interesting, and basically useful, but what is more exciting is thinking about the future potential of social search. Maybe one day you will be able to ask anyone anything and get an answer within an instant...
Whether it's skipping stones in real time on a lake in Idaho, or playing in real-time with shelter-kittens, having computer and Internet access now means having physical access to new experiences. This means the crowd will one day soon have the ability to collaborate in physical ways previously not possible.
Decision making apps and websites:
Having trouble figuring out what to wear? 'Fashism', the crowdsourced clothing style decision maker, is just one example of websites where you can go to make important or trivial decisions with input from the crowd.
UFO Start lets you turn your insight and talent into equity. This means money is not the only way to earn equity in a start-up. This could be big in the future for those who want to get into business but only have the skill, not the cash.
Collaborative editing may see an interesting future of co-created written content.
These are just a few of many new places crowd collaboration is popping up. Can you think of more? Share them in the comments.