Just in time for Iowa caucus, Google launches politics page

Politics and elections page offers users information based on Google searches, Google News views

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Just in time for today's Iowa caucus, Google launched a political hub site to help users get information, discuss issues and track candidates' popularity.

On Monday, Google launched an election site designed to not only offer users information but also to give them a chance to weigh in on the candidates and the issues.

"From the nineteenth century's pamphlets to the twentieth century's TV ad revolution, our elections have always been shaped by how we communicate and consume information," wrote Eric Hysen, a member of Google's politics and elections team, in a blog post. "Just in time for the Iowa Caucuses, 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."

The election site went live just in time for today's Republican caucuses in Iowa. It's a pivotal day for the six GOP candidates campaigning in Iowa, with each trying to emerge as an early frontrunner.

The Google site lets people separate information by issue, candidate and political race. Users also can track a candidate's popularity based on number of Google searches, Google News mentions and YouTube video views.

While Google is working on its election site, Facebook, which launched a political page in 2010, isn't being left out of the political game.

The social network is gearing up to host a Republican presidential primary debate on Sunday morning. The debate will live-stream on Facebook as it's carried on NBC as a special edition of Meet the Press.

The Facebook debate will air just days before the highly influential New Hampshire primary.

People can go to the Facebook politics page to offer questions for the candidates and discuss issues and candidates with other users.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. You can follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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