Google today gave a teaser of what it has in store for the final Republican debate ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential primaries, which will air on Fox News Channel at 6 p.m. Pacific on Thursday, January 28.
This time around, Google will be going beyond having people from YouTube ask the candidates questions. There will be real-time data visualizations courtesy of Google Trends and polls for people to respond to in Google search results (just search for “Fox News debate”). But more interestingly, a new feature in Google search results will surface content direct from the candidates themselves, without the filters of news articles or videos to wade through.
“This experimental feature helps voters make more informed choices, and levels the playing field for candidates to share ideas and positions on issues they may not have had a chance to address during the debate,” Danielle Bowers, partnerships lead of the Google News Lab, wrote in a blog post. “By publishing long-form text, photos and videos throughout the debate, campaigns can now give extended responses, answer questions they didn’t get a chance to on stage, and rebut their opponents.”
Twitter, for its part, has had Moments to show off content from earlier presidential debates. But Google’s feature arguably does more because users don’t have to find content from their favorite — or most despised — candidate within Twitter’s Moments feature. It all just shows up in a clear interface.
It’s not clear if Google will allow candidates to show content directly to people using its search engine during future debates. There are two more Democratic debates to go, and there will be debates between the candidates who win the primaries.