October 24, 2007

Keeping up-to-date with the election

Keeping up-to-date with the upcoming Australian election should be easier than ever with the latest tools provided by Google. Google Australia's Federal election site (www.google.com.au/election2007) is a world-first for Google and was developed here in Australia.

The site is aimed at voters who want to learn more about the policies of government and contains a number of innovative online tools that can help you keep track of election issues. It's also a great platform to view current information and one that should encourage political debate.

Google's site features special Federal Election information viewable in Google Maps that can give you information about electorate boundaries, sitting members, candidates and margins. This information can also be added as an additional layer in Google Earth, Google's virtual atlas application that is a must-have for all computer users.

All six political parties that are represented in Federal Parliament (Australian Democrats, Family First, Greens, Labor, Liberal and Nationals) have also established their own dedicated YouTube channels accessable via the special election site. The YouTube channels contain lots of great information, including messages of support for the new site from the Prime Minister and Leader of the Federal Opposition, Kevin Rudd.

Google have also created a number of election gadgets that users can install on their own iGoogle page. These include an 'On the Record' gadget that allows users to research all 226 Federal MPs’ past statements on any given political issue, by searching Hansard and their personal web pages and a Google News gadget that allows users to search Google for relevant political news by Federal seat.

If you'd like more information about how to use the new Google election site it's probably easiest to watch the Google demo located at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxilCZWXyd0. If you're new to Google then you can sign up for your own customisable Google homepage at www.google.com/ig which will let you install gadgets, and is a great start page for all your surfing activities.