What Google Says About The Candidates

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 by Mistlee

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Jason Lee Miller
What Google Says About The Candidates
Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008

Now that the US Presidential candidates have been campaigning for a solid year, we're running out of angles from which to look at them. Since the Googleplex has hosted each of the remaining candidates, we thought we'd use the Google search engine to find those new angles.

Editor's Note: America's most popular search engine is bound to have a large role in determining who will be the world's most powerful person. So come have a look (and feel free to have your say) as we explore what Google says about the remaining presidential candidates.
» Give us your comment.

This can show us a few things: what the Internet "climate," so to speak, is for the candidates; how they stand on issues affecting the Internet; and which ones are making the best use of the Internet for their campaigns.

And I'll try to keep my opinions out of it. (Cub)Scout's honor.

If you were just now tuning in to the race, and your TV's busted, you might search Google Images to find out what the candidates look like.

Aside from the first image of Senator Barack Obama, which features "gangsta" Obama allegedly pandering to the African American audience, the rest, for the most part, look nice and Presidential. If you just search for " Obama," it's a little more casual, featuring a more JFK, Jr.-esque shirtless beach shot, and of course his would-be Kennedy-esque mistress.

Hillary (don't click that without safe search mode ON), on the other hand, doesn't get quite the treatment Barack does. She's featured as the Devil in both the informal "Hillary" return and the " Hillary Clinton" return (where she's poking Bill in the rear with a pitchfork), as well as Darth Vader, or is featured with various decidedly monstrous looks on her face. Google Images doesn't appear to like Hillary much, but that baby pic is priceless.

John McCain, according to Google Images, is a pirate. And a GI Joe. And is most often draped in the Stars and Stripes. Sometimes Presidential, sometimes crazy guy at the bar angry because you looked at him funny. POW camp kind of does that to a guy.

Okay, so Google Images clearly favors either McCain or Obama, depending on your POV, which puts Hillary last in our forthcoming analysis (besides, "ladies first" is so sexist). We'll start with Obama because he is, according to Google Suggest, nobody knows who he is.

What Google Tells Us About Obama

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."

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…."

Google also tells us that, according to Slate, Obama is the most Google-like candidate, if you were to compare him to a company. A young, exciting, inspiring, dreamy upstart…whose stock has fallen, says my boss, hardee-har-har.

But even still, after all that Silicon Valley love – Google led contributors to his campaign, choosing him over Clinton and McCain – Obama failed to carry the region. Silicon Valley went the way of Microsoft. And the Obama Girl? Well, maybe she caught a cold by not wearing enough at the Google-YouTube New Hampshire pre-primary party, because sort of didn't go cast her vote in the New Jersey primary. Et tu, Amber Lee?

» Read the rest of the article.

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