John was kind enough to answer a few of my questions via email, so I managed to learn a bit more about the service than is currently revealed on their web site. Yes, it will remain free. Yes, there will likely be a ‘pro’ version that has additional features. Yes, they are looking to expand to additional countries, but are using Canada to test the feasibility before committing to anything bigger. There will be some restrictions on the free version – to stop large companies from using the system to conduct polls with thousands of users etc, but nothing too extreme. Live Vote will be publicly available on October 15th, 2007.
Off the top of my head, I can think of a number of cool ways to use Live Vote. Letting the crowd decide the winner for karaoke contests, engaging your audience during presentations (just ask them to put the cells away after they text their answer), even getting the group to decide where to go for dinner. Canada may not have MP3 downloads from Amazon (or iTunes), the ability to use Pandora or watch episodes of Lost from the ABC website, but at least we have Live Vote.