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Fox News and Google teamed up to add an interesting twist in the GOP debate that took place in Orlando, Florida. The debate included some interactive aspects which made it nothing like any previous debate. Google allowed the opportunity for citizens throughout the country to participate in the debate first-handedly and ask questions to the nine GOP presidential candidates via YouTube videos.
A total of 18,000 questions were sent in as text messages as well, according to the Official Google Blog. Some questions that many wanted answers to but which were excluded from previous debates were topics such as the education system, Palestine and Israel, and the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy. These questions were aimed at challenging the candidates and getting them out of their comfort zone.
A former teacher from Georgia sent in a video that addressed the problem with the education system and all the candidates had the opportunity to expand on their views on this issue. Another question came from a gay soldier serving in Iraq who asked Rick Santorum if he would reinstate the ban on openly gay service members during his presidency.
A different video asked, “If you were forced to eliminate one department from the federal government which one would you eliminate and why?” Other questions were simply added in hopes to spice up the competition and add humor to the debate.
Maybe one of the most surprising questions of the night came from a citizen in a YouTube video who asked each candidate whom they would pick as their vice president if they were elected in 2012 for president.
Other features introduced by Google were elements such as showing the most searched trends, which were the platform for discussion within the debate. The most researched words were then presented in a “word cloud” that included words such as illegal, Israel, and economy.
During breaks between the debates, Google also had a feature that illustrated what people were searching for most while using the Internet. It demonstrated that coupons were being heavily searched for, most likely because many people are trying to save money wherever they can. Foreclosures were another highly searched topic and was searched much more than home loans.
This new interactive feature introduced in the Orlando debate allowed for people across the nation to present personal questions and also challenged the candidates to think on the spot. Overall, Google allowed for an out-of-the-ordinary debate, one of my personal favorites thus far.
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