SAN FRANCISCO — Google is about to embark on an old-school search, swapping its Internet algorithm for a custom-built van that will cruise across the US to find out how people use its online services and react to new features.
The white van emblazoned with Google’s colorful logo and an invitation to ‘‘shape the future’’ of the world’s most powerful Internet company is scheduled to pull out Monday on a six-week road trip.
Google 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.
After leaving New York, the van will be stopping in Chapel Hill, N.C., from Monday through March 18; Clemson, S.C., March 21-22; Atlanta, March 23-25; Boulder, Colo., April 4-8; Salt Lake City, April 11-15; Reno, Nev., April 18-20; and South Lake Tahoe, Calif., April 21-22.
About 500 walk-up volunteers will be invited to step inside the van designed to serve as a mini-version of Google’s Silicon Valley laboratories, where most of the company’s user studies are conducted.