Google’s ‘In Quotes’ Tracks McCain’s, Obama’s Words

Just in time for the elections, Google Labs rolls out a neat little tool called In Quotes, which allows readers to search for the U.S. presidential candidates quotes, as compiled by news sources, by various topics.

So, you wanna know what John McCain and Barack Obama have to say about health care? Just plug that term into the search window here, and Google does the rest, fetching a variety of one-liners from the candidates on that topic. The “spin” button will refresh that search, showing you even more quotations. And, you can do the same trick with Joe Biden/Sarah Palin or any other number of combinations between various U.S. political figures.

Google explains:

These quotations are a valuable resource for understanding where people in the news stand on various issues. Much of the published reporting about people is based on the interpretation of a journalist. Direct quotes, on the other hand, are concrete units of information that describe how newsmakers represent themselves. Google News compiles these quotations from online news stories and sorts them into browsable groups based on who is being quoted.

Similar to article selection and placement on Google News, quotes and their speakers are determined automatically by a computer program and we don’t guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the information you may see. The dates you see represent when the article in which the quote appears was added to Google News.

I like to see Google experimenting with stuff like this. As Nov. 4 draws nearer, more people will be looking for information on where the candidates stand on scores of issues, and this tool might not be a bad starting place.

(A version of this post appears today on The Ladder.)

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