With Iowa deciding on their choice for GOP candidate tomorrow, Google’s timing is much better this election season to roll out their political news and trends trackers at Google Elections. In 2008, they had a similar offering but didn’t release it until just before the conventions.
The Dashboard above is, according to Frederic Lardinois of Silicon Filter, “the most interesting aspect of the site.” It displays side-by-side comparisons of searches for each individual candidate over the last 7 days and allows users to expand the graphic to drill down to individual dates.
The “On the Ground” view plugs Google Maps into the picture, integrating geo-location of events with YouTube videos taken there, giving voters the ability to see where and when the candidates visited certain locations. YouTube integration allows users to see with their own eyes what was said at these events. By crowdsourcing the reporting, Google allows journalists and voters to follow and listen to the candidates without having to travel around with their campaigns.
No Google product or service would be complete without a mention of Google+. The primary page for Elections is little more than a filtered view of the news being reported through Google News, complete with Google+ buttons prominently displayed next to each. Voters can examine individual candidates as well as the issues themselves ranging from Immigration to National Security.
The Iowa caucus has come down to be a 3-person race with Mitt Romney holding the top spot as he has for most of the last several months, Ron Paul sharing the top spot off and on with Romney over the last 2 weeks, and Rick Santorum surging to a comfortable 3rd position ahead of the rest of the pack.