Were you one of the millions to receive news of Sen. Joe Biden's selection as Sen. Barack Obama's running mate via text message from the Obama campaign at 3 a.m. Saturday? Then Google's new mobile election coverage is probably right up your campaign trail.
Just in time for the Democratic National Convention this week and the Republican National Convention next week, Google has expanded its election news coverage, tailored specifically to mobile political junkies. The Democratic convention is in Denver and the Republican convention will be in Minneapolis.
According to Effie Seiberg on Google's Mobile Blog, mobile-phone users can get the latest political action sent directly to their phones by going to m.google.com/elections. The site includes a Mobile Search function that will pull up the latest news results without re-keying the candidate's names each time. Another link runs pre-searched news items related to the campaigns for quick access. Google is running constant back-end searches for political news and pre-serving them in mobile screens.
Both Democrat Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain have YouTube channels, and the Google service can dish out in video optimized for mobile the latest political ads and speeches as soon as they are posted by either campaign. And in a bid to snare as many political conventioneers as possible, Google has rolled out custom mobile maps for the Denver and Minneapolis areas.
The site also promotes Google's Power Readers in Politics site. Users who download and install the Google Reader have access to hundreds of political articles, commentaries and editorials from leading political pundits. Selections include blogs and the mainstream press from Time, Newsweek and CNN. Users can subscribe to content from these sources.
Other Convention Technology News
This season's presidential campaign will be the most tech-heavy ever. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and YouTube are among the technology companies present, while literally hundreds of bloggers and "citizen journalists" will be on hand to cover events, live in many cases.
The Democratic National Committee will stream high-definition video coverage from the show floor -- a first.
YouTube announced last week that it will carry convention-floor coverage at both sites -- Denver and Minneapolis -- including exclusive behind-the-scenes footage. YouTube held contests for both Democratic and Republican correspondents, and the winners will host footage on the site. Five finalists were chosen for each party.
Microsoft is providing a nearly complete software infrastructure at both conventions, including Exchange mail servers, Web server software, collaborative meeting and document sharing software, instant messaging, and informational kiosks. Microsoft says it has been working on infrastructure with both political parties since June 2007.
Some pundits predict surprises as an overflow of information technology might catch significant unscripted moments during the otherwise carefully orchestrated proceedings. At least one can hope.