Google just launched a new free API that will make it easier for developers to add civic information like polling places, early vote locations, candidate data and election official information to their applications. Google says it hopes this new Google Civic Information API will “unleash the creativity of the Internet and help you build innovative products that push civic information to your communities in interesting ways.” As the U.S. presidential election in November gets closer, the kind of information developers can access through the API tends to change frequently, but Google says it will make “every effort” to ensure that its data is accurate.
For now, this API only makes data about the U.S. election available to developers, but Google plans to expand it to other countries and to include other types of civic information. It’s also worth noting that Google is releasing the API today, but won’t have full live data available until the middle of October.
Google itself will use the new API to power its own election tools, including an embeddable app that anyone will be able to use on their sites.
Overall, the company has consistently been adding more election tools to its lineup over the last few years. Most of these, though, were either aimed directly at consumers, teachers or politicians. Google also recently offered dedicated sites for a number of international elections, including those in Egypt and France. In previous years, Google also offered a dedicated Election Center API, but that API has now been deprecated and Google is asking developers to use the new Civic Information API instead.
Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google+, the company’s extension into the social space. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing...