Choosing the right party and candidates to vote for this year’s election is now a click away with Google Australia’s Federal Election site.
Click to enlarge
The site has a number of innovative online tools, including:
Google Maps and Google Earth
Google’s site features special Federal Election information viewable in Google Maps that will give users information about electorate boundaries, sitting members, candidates and margins. Using Google Maps’ easy-to-use interface, users will be able to zoom and pan, and see satellite imagery and road maps of all 150 Federal seats.
Electorate boundaries and seat names will also be visible in a layer in Google Earth.
All six political parties that are represented in Federal Parliament (Australian Democrats, Family First, Greens, Labor, Liberal and Nationals) have established their own dedicated YouTube channels. Google’s site contains links to these channels and a “gadget” that enables users to watch the parties’ latest videos on their iGoogle homepage.
Google Australia has also established its own election channel on YouTube, entitled “Australia Votes”, which will feature election content and be a forum for discussing Australian politics and the election. It is located at www.youtube.com/australiavotes .
Innovative Election Gadgets
Google has developed four exciting gadgets that will make a wealth of Australian political information just a click away:
- The Australian MPs ‘On the Record’ gadget allows users to research all 226 Federal MPs’ past statements on any given political issue, by searching Hansard and their personal web pages.
- The Google News gadget enables users to search Google News for the latest Australian political news, by Federal seat.
- The Google Trends gadget allows users to use Google’s experimental Trends feature to compare the Australian search and news volume of political issues, parties or candidates.
- The YouTube gadget enables users to view the parties’ latest YouTube videos from their iGoogle homepage.
Google Australia’s Head of Engineering, Alan Noble, said the site showed how the internet could play a substantive role in providing information and encouraging debate. “New technologies allow a conversation with voters which has never been possible before. The internet is deepening political debate and engagement. This site is the convergence of democracy and the Internet. It enables Australian voters to research detailed political information and share their views whenever they want,” Noble said.
The Minister for Workplace Relations, Joe Hockey, said “We all need to be more aware of online campaigning and the impact it will have on this election. The Government has embraced online sites like YouTube as a way of connecting with voters and detailing our policies.”
In addition, Labor’s Environment Spokesperson, Peter Garrett also acknowledged that the web is now the number one way of getting information for many people. “The Labor Party has a big online presence and a YouTube channel because we see it as a way to talk about our policies, to get out there and let people know what we stand for,” Garrett said.