Google Earth integrates election info in U.S. map

Mountain View (CA) - Adding to Google's slate of filters and views for its widely-used Google Earth software, the Internet giant today unveiled the 2006 Google Earth Election Guide. The add-on allows users to view the entire country with district separation lines and embedded information about candidates running for Congress in each district.

With the new filters, the center of each district appears as a red, white, and blue button, that, when clicked on, brings up the entire list of people running for senator or as a member of the House of Representatives.

From there, links are listed by each candidate's name to open up a Web browser that shows either a Google Web search, image search, or news search for that candidate. Google says every major candidate in the country's 435 Congressional districts is included.

Additionally, when users click on any district, there are links to that state's official voter registration page as well as a link to the Federal Election Commission's site on campaign finance reports and data.

This comprehensive guide comes as we face an election year that's on an enormously more digital scale than any previous major election, with candidates tapping into YouTube and MySpace for campaign coverage, as well as a high rollout of touch-screen and digital voting machines to many districts for the first time since the 2004 Presidential election.

According to Google, the Google Earth software has been downloaded over 100 million times since its launch just over a year ago, and it has seen significant use in high-profile areas, such as CNN and other TV programming in the US, as well an internationally, like on Channel 9 News in Australia. With the election guide, millions of US citizens have a resource available to give them instant information that most would never otherwise search for.