There is a saying that warns never to mix business with politics but one can\\\'t help but be affected by the other. Filipino voters can now visit one site to keep abreast with election news. Broadcast networks and web news portals collaborated with Google Philippines to create Google.com.ph/elections.
The site is a hub for elections-related news and information created to help 53 million Filipino voters, including 700,000 absentee voters abroad, stay updated about the coming polls.
“We want to make sure citizens have a quick access to information to help them make informed decisions on election day,” said Narciso Reyes, Google Philippines Country Manager. “This is part of our commitment to bring to the Filipinos essential information that will make their lives easier and more meaningful.”
The Elections Page will allow Filipinos to engage with candidates through a variety of Google’s platforms, such as live-streamed debates on YouTube hosted by the media collaborators. “Through the different components we included on the page, Filipinos can discuss issues with the candidates, or exchange views with reporters or other citizens on Google+ Hangouts. There’s a lot of information on it, from political party backgrounds to list of candidates, so there’s less reason for voters not to be updated with the daily grind of the election season,” said Ryan Morales, Google Philippines Head of Marketing.
The page gathers stories from the web and hosts up-to-date broadcast coverage from the networks’ YouTube channels. Elections-related incidents provided by the online news collaborators are also plotted on Google Maps embedded on the page to inform the public about events taking place in different parts of the country. This will help election watchers focus on hotspots and monitor how events are unfolding in these areas.
Another key component of the page is the Precinct Finder, which makes voting centers easy to find based on city, region and the voter’s precinct number. Precinct locations are currently being plotted on Google Maps by volunteers and will be available on the page before May 13, 2013.
The Philippine Elections page is the first online initiative to bring together multimedia content from various sources. This collaboration aims to encourage people to be more participative and critical of what candidates aspire for the nation. It also allows voters to have a deeper understanding of politics and governance through engagement with the candidates.
Google created its first elections page five years ago when its engineers noticed a huge increase in search traffic around the election period in the United States. Today, 16 countries including Malaysia, Thailand, and now, the Philippines, have elections pages that aid voters in their decisions before elections are due.
The Google Philippines Elections Page can be accessed at google.com.ph/elections.