Google’s come up with a handy new tool to help you weigh various political figures’ stances (or at least what they’ve said in the media) on a variety of hot button topics. Google In Quotes pulls the latest direct quotes from news publications on any topic you want, for most any candidate you want. We’ve come up with our own million dollar idea for the technology — but first, a little about Google’s offering.
The default In Quotes choices, not surprisingly, are John McCain and Barack Obama. You can switch out with anyone from George Bush to Bill or Hillary Clinton, even Condoleeza Rice and Nancy Pelosi. And it’s not just limited to the U.S., either — a top-of-screen option lets you toggle over to an edition featuring British, Canadian, or Indian leaders.
In Quotes has a handful of obvious issues that you can click on — abortion, economy, health care — but it also lets you specify your own terms. You can then scroll through the list of quotes or hit the “spin” button to get a random one selected.
The site is a fun way to sift through political coverage specific to topics and candidates of your choosing. It doesn’t, of course, provide you a full spectrum of any person’s views, since you’re seeing only selected snippets from individual stories. A service such as The Boston Channel’s candidate comparison tool does a more all-encompassing job of laying out the candidates’ overall stances issue-by-issue (at least for the U.S. presidential campaign). As long as you use In Quotes with the understanding of what it can and cannot do, though, it’s an interesting tool that adds another layer to the political news experience.
Now, for our idea. The foundation is there. Next, we’d like to see the In Quotes Blogger Edition. Take the same concept, but switch out the players and the topics.
Just imagine the fun side-by-side comparisons could you drum up:
Here’s hoping Google decides to open source the code.