Ask500People aims to live up to its name by taking a simple poll question and opening it up to the Web to interact and answer. It offers a social and public polling record that is plotted on a map real-time. The map moves around as poll questions are answered by 500 people (which attributes to its clever name).
Ask500People was developed by the Wondermill team after being inspired by James Surowiecki wrote a best-selling book called "The Wisdom of Crowds." The relies on user submitted poll questions and users contributed responses from the site and from a distributed set of sites that house the Ask500People widget. If you are interested in submitting a question to Ask500People, here are some guidelines or best practices to go by. The site uses a Digg-style of voting and questions that receive enough votes within a 24 hour period are queued up to be asked to the rest of the Web community. While visiting the site you can see the queue of the questions that will be asked and also see real-time answers plotted geographically on a map (Google Map mashup) as they come in. After a question receives 500 responses the question is closed and the next question is asked.
Ask500People is a fun and interactive twist on traditional polling. Read/Write Web also recently took a closer look at Ask500People and noted that they are currently only polling 100 people since it takes about 15 minutes to get through that many responses. With time they expect to increase the polling number up to 500 - or I guess they could rename the site "Ask 15 minutes worth of people" but it doesn't quite have the same ring or flow. :)