Google just schooled every media and digital company trying to give an overview of Indian election. It has introduced a Know Your Candidate tool on the election page it had launched in November 2013 that lets you find out who the candidates are in each constituency, their declared assets, education level, social media accounts, website, age and political alliance.
The tools is built around Google Maps and it lets you click on each constituency to see list of all candidates and their details. It lets you search for your constituency by pincode, but it does not let you search by candidate names as of now. Also, information seems to be limited to constituencies that are heading to polls in the next week, so most constituencies only display the details of incumbent politicians.
The search giant has sourced its information from Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), PRS Legislative Research and Liberty Institute India. It needs to be noted that Facebook had tied-up with ADR to provide similar Know Your Neta service via USSD in November. It is surprising that the social network did not bother to integrate the same information when it launched election tracker last month.
What should Google do next: Google has drastically improved its election page since it launched with just a news and videos tab. It then added a trends section that shows which party and politicians is being searched and discussed most. However, despite having all this data Google only lists news items when you search for a candidate’s name. Google should display the details of the constituency he or she is contesting from, information declared while filing for candidacy and even information culled from official social media accounts, apart from news items.
What are others doing? Facebook continues to host talks with politicians and it just doesn’t feel like the best platform for election campaigning. Twitter meanwhile has set up a page listing Twitter accounts of all candidates standing in this election. It has also tied-up with Times Internet for a ‘Tweet to remember’ campaign. You can tweet @TimesofIndia with your location and you’ll be guided through a process that will let you add the voting date to your calendar on phone or desktop. Times Now is also using data from Twitter to create conversations around the election. Both Twitter and Facebook needs to lot more if it wants to be part of the conversation around the election. Hashtags for following election campaign is nice, but it would be awesome if these sites could present all those tweets and information in a snapshot.
PS: TIL that Kapil Sibal, who is the candidate from the constituency I’m living in has declared assets worth Rs 114 crore, AAP candidate Ashutosh has assets of Rs 8 crore and BJP candidate Dr Harsh Vardhan has two severe criminal cases registered against him. May be the least worst candidate win!