It's 2012, so it's not a surprise that most every company will try to leverage this election year.
For those wanting to keep abreast of the latest in Election 2012 news, Google announced Monday via the company's blog the launch of new feature Google Elections, "just in time for the Iowa caucuses." The new feature will help concerned citizens look at aggregated news, search by a variety oif election-relevant criteria (including candidate popularity or important issues), and even look at ready-made Trend graphs.
One particularly cool tool in the new Google Election feature is the "On the Ground" option, which allows users to group news stories based on stops along the various candidates' campaign trails. Getting local news reactions, as well as watching candidates interact in smaller community gatherings, can be very insightful, and this is a great way to really hone in on these aspects of their campaigning.
"We’re launching...an election hub where citizens can study, watch, discuss, learn about, participate in and perhaps even make an impact on the digital campaign trail as it blazes forward to Tuesday, November 6, 2012," said Eric Hysen of the Google Politics and Elections team, in the company's blog post.
Google also has a YouTube channel geared toward the 2012 election, called YouTube Politics, where voters can view quick clips of candidates's speeches and public appearances. As a quick reminder: YouTube is owned by Google, hence their involvement in the announcement.
The YouTube Politics channel also has a few graphs about the popularity on the site, by candidate, though of course some of these graphs can be misleading. For instance, Rick Perry has one of the highest YouTube rankings in the "most-played by candidate" graph, though I'm guessing this is due mostly to his notoriously polarizing video, in which he decries the allowance of gays to serve in the military.
Translation: high play-rate does not always mean popularity, a maxim that could just as easily be applied to frequency of hits in the news. After all, Herman Cain was sure in the news a lot there for a while, subsequent to numerous allegations of sexual harassment. But he's not in the news so much nowadays.
That said, while some of the graphs on the new Google Elections feature probably aren't a very good measure of the true popularity or long-term viability of candidates, as a news resource Google Elections really does seem to be very helpful.
Since some news sources tend to be, um, a little bit biased -- *cough* FOX News *cough* -- even the single Google Election feature of grouping news stories by candidate is a great tool, in that it gives voters a quick link to a variety of different kinds of reportage on the candidates that matter.
Google could not be reached for immediate comment.