The site is very useful. I can remember at 18 having to ask my parents, somewhat ashamedly, how to go about voting and where. Those newly of voting age, or even adults in a new town, needn’t worry anymore.
The site helps citizens find where to cast their ballots from now until Election Day, and how to cast an absentee ballot. Google collected the information by working with election officials in the U.S., the League of Women Voters, the Pew Charitable Trusts and other organizations in the Voting Information Project.
Google is providing the same results for mobile phone users. So, in case you’re on the go and want to see the site via your BlackBerry, iPhone or perhaps even your brand-spanking-new G1, you can go to m.google.com/elections or search for the word “vote” with your address on Google Maps for Mobile.
One new thing Google previously didn’t announce is a new gadget that lets Web site owners extend Google’s voting information. The gadget is an embeddable search box. When users enter an address, they’ll receive complete voter information.
Google’s voting site is yet another example of how the search engine has become a Wal-Mart of information, with its spiders crawling and corralling data and content about anything and everything.
The more Google broadens its Web services reach, the more the long tail—the smaller sites looking to offer similar services—becomes marginalized, an idea explored by Nicholas Carr in his great post, “The Centripetal Web.”
I’ll be blogging on this concept more in the near future because I believe it marks a significant shift in the way the Web will work. Invariably, it recalls the question about Google: How much information control becomes too much?