A news piece from a prominent newspaper has triggered an investigation from the Ministry of Education. Sabah Education Department director, Datuk Jame Alip, has started the investigation on the of a 15 year old who convinced his teachers that Google awarded him a cash prize for the translation app he built in his spare time.
The boy from SMK Merpati, Yusrim Karim submitted an app called “Coker Chat” to Google Ideas. He claimed that Google Ideas sent him an e-mail saying his app was great and gave him two choices – to work on a $36 million (about RM132 million) project or sell the idea for $50,000 (about RM183,557) cash. Interestingly, the Form Three student said he chose the money over the million dollar project.
Google Ideas is a subsidiary of Google where people or developers can send their ideas in, and if they like it, they will pay you to further develop the idea. However, readers were skeptical about the news story because the said app, Coker Chat, was not on the Projects section at the Google Ideas webpage. Yusrim said that he received the award back in December last year but only chose to tell his teachers recently; which would have given Google plenty of time to upload the project to the official site.
Zeffri Yusof, Google Malaysia’s head of communications and public affairs department has stated that the story was ‘completely incorrect’ and Google Ideas did not organise any such competition. He added that the situation is likely the result of an “unfortunate misunderstanding”.
Interestingly, the entire debacle could have been avoided with a short Google search; which would have revealed no such project listed on the Google Ideas page. Overall, it looks like an April Fools’ Day prank and an overzealous journalist gone horribly wrong.
[UPDATE] – Google Malaysia has said that they might invite the young boy over to their office and give an ‘April Fool’ prize instead. “If indeed this was April foolery, Google Malaysia would be happy to play along with it”, said Zeffri.
[Source: The STAR]