Elections 2014: Know your candidates, with Google's latest tool

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With the 16th Lok Sabha elections now underway, if you haven't already found out about your political candidates and decided who to vote for then you'll need to get that information quickly. Google has launched a new tool on their elections hub called Know Your Candidates, which shows information on each candidate gathered from sources like the Association for Democratic Reforms, PRS Legistlative Research and Liberty Institute India.

When you visit the election hub and visit the Know Your Candidates tab, you can see a map of India which is marked out with each constituency and colour coded by the party of the incumbent. Zooming in shows more detailed boundaries so you can find and click on your particular constituency, or you can just enter your PIN code and jump to the relevant details.

Aside from your own candidate, the Know Your Candidates tool is also useful if you want to look at multiple constituencies to gain a macro picture.

On the page, when you click on a constituency, you get to see a list on the left of all the candidates, and also the incumbent. The information displayed depends on the sources, and can include alliances, age, education, attendance, debates participated in and questions asked, for example.

Some sources have different information available - for example, the number of severe criminal cases and he assets of the candidate; where available, you will also see links to the candidates YouTube, Twitter and Facebook pages and the candidates website as well.

If you were wondering whether the 79-year-old candidate from your constituency has a verified Twitter presence, then this tool is extremely handy - however, the information being presented is a very basic snapshot, and should only be used as the first stop on the way to making an informed choice.

Professor Trilochan Sastry, a founding member of ADR applauded this launch saying, "As citizens we have to play a proactive role in ensuring that we choose politicians who are clean, honest and committed to the progress, security and development of the people of India."

(Also see: Google's Election hub goes live with politician scores, voter pledges)

Rajan Anandan, VP and Managing Director of Google India, said "In the last five months, we have made a concerted effort to provide our users a one stop destination for all their information needs for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. We hope that making this information easily accessible will help Indian voters learn more about candidates running for public office and help them to make an informed decision."

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