Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
Google is partnering with the Associated Press to provide authoritative results for next week’s election alongside other voting-related features. Searching for election results will bring up a dedicated feature with up-to-date information, either on the web or through Google Assistant on smart speakers.
This is the latest of several attempts to prepare for a potentially chaotic voting and vote-counting process. Google announced last month that it would ban US election-related ads after the polls close on November 3rd, attempting to forestall candidates prematurely claiming victory. It’s published updates on potential hacking campaigns relating to the election, added panels on YouTube addressing voting-related misinformation, and introduced a Google News hub for the 2020 elections, among other changes. As of earlier this month, users can also find polling places with Search or Maps.
The company has offered these kinds of features in previous elections, and it partnered with the AP in 2016 for an “election buzz” tool. But digital platforms are under particular pressure to offer accurate information during the 2020 election. Many votes may be received by mail days after the polls close, giving unverified stories plenty of time to spread across sites like YouTube and Google Search.
Other web platforms are introducing similar informational tools for the election. Yesterday, Twitter added a banner telling users that election results might be delayed and offering information about mail-in voting. Facebook is also adding an alert to its apps.