Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Google Evaluates the Candidates

What Google Tells Us About the Candidates

If you're the kind of voter who casts their ballot according to the candidates' stands on Internet issues, this story might just be your ticket.

If you're the kind of voter who casts their ballot according to how popular the candidates are on-line, this also might be the story you're looking for.
Obama has 271,000 MySpace friends, compared to Hillary's 181,000, and McCain's disappointing 44,000.

Jason Lee Miller has written a piece for WebProNews on how the candidates stacked up based on their appearance at Google's HQ in California.

He looks at Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democrats, and John McCain for the Republicans.

It's interesting and a video of each candidate at Google was found on YouTube.

This was the summary of each.


If you're the type of person who listens to what President Bush says and thinks we should do the opposite, then Obama's your man. In this Editor & Publisher report, Bush called McCain a "true conservative" (a statement Limbaugh, Hannity, Ingram and Coulter might all disagree with), and said Hillary was "well-prepared for the job." And Barack? Bush doesn't like Obama's lack of foreign policy experience. And if anybody knows about bad foreign policy, it's Bush.

That's the last time. Honestly.

Obama's well-liked at the Googleplex, especially since he was the only candidate to answer correctly CEO Eric Schmidt's Google employment question, which is about "the most efficient way to sort a million 32-bit integers."

He answered "I think the bubble sort would be the wrong way to go." That's apparently correct because the crowd applauded. Giving me a math problem is like putting a chimp at the helm of an atom-smasher. Still, I think this is the correct answer: "Give them to a Google employee."

Obama at Google

Net Neutrality is a big Internet issue at the moment.

Google employees wanted to know about how the candidates felt about that particular issue, and Lee fills in the blanks.

During that interview, Obama voiced support for Network Neutrality (a topic you're unlikely to hear about off the Internet), and unveiled his technological plan for the nation, which included the appointment of a Chief Technical Officer to help make the government more transparent online.

As far as utilizing the Internet in his campaign goes, he's been early and aggressive online, making use of YouTube, MySpace, and Google AdWords, especially to ward off a smear campaign suggesting he was Muslim. That question, by the way,—whether he's Muslim—is the top Google suggestion for "Obama is…."

"Smear" here is in the eye of the beholder. There are legitimate questions concerning Obama, religion and his religious advisers. None of those questions constitute a "smear" in the classic sense of the word.

However, "smear" has come to mean "any unpleasant questions" in the modern political lexicon.


Google Suggest suggests that McCain is an insane, liberal traitor, or at best an old conservative. But if you're the type to go against anything MoveOn.org says, which has thrown it's support via donated money and advertising to Obama, then McCain's your man.

And he's earned your support. For every dollar McCain's campaign spent online he earned $4 in campaign donations. Not a bad return at all. His email campaign did better, pulling $189 average donations at a cost of $8 per donor. He's savvy when it comes to Internet campaigning, utilizing AdWords, AdSense, and MySpace to bolster support.

His ads don't always hit the mark. Some of his AdSense flyovers ended up in enemy territory thanks to some faulty contextual targeting. And he had to diffuse a McCain googlebomb at some point, which seems to have been unsuccessful. His attack on Hillary worked pretty well though.

While visiting the Googleplex, Schmidt let McCain off the hook by not making him answer the efficient bit-sorting thing, and McCain struck a cord with Googlers with this nugget:

“If Google is going to be able to maintain its supremacy in the world, it is going to have to continue to get the best and the brightest from all over the world, and I accept with your gigantic egos, that you are the best…we need an H1B visa program that works.”

But he wasn't pandering. Soon after, a Googler got the "McCain story" Rick Santorum was talking about as the two of them argued about the war in Iraq. And McCain wasn't exactly gentle. And he's still kind of mad at Google and Yahoo for their involvements with China.

He's against Net Neutrality, believing the market will right itself without government intervention. That might be why he took in $0 from Yahoo, and just $1,550 from Google. Don't feel bad for him though, McCain has mentioned making Cisco CEO John Chambers a cabinet member. Cisco doesn't like Net Neutrality either, especially with all the network filtering equipment they make.

And lastly, Hillary Clinton showed up at the Googleplex to talk to the Google employees.

As per usual, she came with a set of pre-conditions.


Google Suggest isn't kind to Sen. Clinton, either, suggesting she "is" a fake, a joke, even the devil. Slate compared her to General Electric, the "mega-cap blue-chip, a juggernaut of the 1990s," but I like the comparison to Microsoft better, especially if Obama is Google.

In fact, out of Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, Clinton pulled in the most from Mr. Softy, the Beast of Redmond, and carried Silicon Valley, too. She also has visited the Googleplex, but unfortunately, it looks like Clinton specified "no math questions" before Schmidt was allowed to interview her.

The piece winds up with the following: "Rest assured, just like Microsoft with Google, wherever Obama is, there you'll find Clinton, too, especially online. In AdWords, on YouTube and MySpace."

And there you have it.

The handicapping of the candidates, according to Google.

While we think Google is an exceptional search engine, we're not so sure about its political advisory capabilities.

After all, in campaign season, it becomes just another interest group.

by Mondoreb
* lockergnome;
* davidallgroup
Source: What Google Tells Us about the Candidates


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