When I first read that Google was launching something called Tip Jar, I assumed it was again spreading its monetization strategy to now including taking tips (something which the service TipJoy does). But I was wrong. The service is a place where users go to submit and receive tips on how to best save money in our troubled economic environment. The users then rank those tips, to make it a sort of Digg for the recession.
These tips are organized by subject, with topics including, Finance, Shopping, Food, Vacation and a few others. So far, over 1,100 people have submitted nearly 1,000 tips, which have been voted on over 10,000 times. The voting is simple: if you think a tip is good, you give it a check mark, if it’s bad, an “X.”
“Over time, the best and most useful tips will rise to the top,” Google writes in a blog post about the service. Just as the best and most useful stories rise to the top of Digg (at least, theoretically).
You have to sign in to your Google account to vote on and submit tips. The submission process is simple as well. You select the topic your tip should reside under, type it in and fill in a name you wish to display and your location. Tips can be up to 250 characters in length — almost novel-length in the online world increasingly infatuated with Twitter (which has a 140 character limit).
Tip Jar is built on Google Moderator, a question-submission application that runs on App Engine, its web app building platform. So it seems that Tip Jar not only serves the purpose of helping people save money but also serves as an example of what you can easily build on App Engine. Someone could build a basic white label social voting service for just about anything with this pretty easily. Of course, there are a lot of other ways to do that too, including an option from the social voting site Reddit to make your own version of that service.