As we build up to the global spectacle of U.S. election day, several companies have announced their efforts to provide coverage and insight into the biases and opinions of the country. Both Microsoft and Google will provide users with comprehensive coverage platforms, while Amazon has come up with a less conventional, yet somewhat more intriguing offering.
Google has launched its YouTube Elections Hub, a channel that aggregates and organizes video content from a wide range of news sources including ABC, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and many more. Users can also view live streams of both the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates, as well as coverage from the upcoming Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
Mountain View is also looking to provide some unique content in the form of Google+ Hangouts with “power brokers behind the scenes.” The channel provides a fairly concise overview of what's happening and will help to keep you up to date with all the key moments leading up to election day on November 6.
Microsoft's election coverage platform has the unique appeal of providing users with up to date info straight into their living rooms. The company's Election 2012 Hub will launch through the Xbox 360's LIVE service on August 27, and like Google's offering, gives users access to live election coverage while providing facts on candidates and details on key issues.
Other than the sofa-friendly delivery method, Microsoft's service will feature both live daily polling and timely quick-feedback polls, making it a useful tool to gauge the bias of the country, or at least those using the service. In addition to this, users will also be able to interact through real time polling during the Presidential debates, further increasing engagement and feedback.
Online retailer Amazon is also getting in on the action, though with a notably more quirky take on election coverage. The company has taken the top 250 books that exhibit a clear political bias and, using the sales data, created a live map where each state's graphic changes color to indicate its current political bias.
The company is quick to point out that this is far from the most accurate method of measurement, as customers “read widely and often buy books that don't necessarily fit their own views.” This makes Amazon's offering more of an experiment than a genuine indicator of political bias, but we're keen to see how close the map's prediction matches the result of the vote on November 6. At the time of writing, 56 percent of purchases are of “red” books.