Google launches site on Malaysian polls

Internet search giant Google on Wednesday launched a new website specially designed to help the Malaysian electorate make their choice when polling day finally arrives.

Google Malaysia spokesperson Zeffri Yusof said this was in view of the fact that there are many young and new voters in the upcoming election, who rely on the Internet for information.

The website's features election-related videos and a list of the forthcoming polls related events, as well as links to election-focused news microsites, including those from Astro, theSun and Malaysiakini .

"This (website) will be specific to Malaysia and specific to the 13th general election, but once we turn it on, it will be a resource for future elections where it would sort of roll back to look at past elections.

"We are trying to do this in every country that we operate in because we want to support democratic elections," Zeffri ( above, left ) said during a closed-door media briefing session on Wednesday.

Google's Southeast Asia policy and government affairs chief Goh Lih Shiun said this would be Google's first 'full-fledged' election website in the region.

It has previously launched a 'mini election website' for the Bangkok gubernatorial election.

Golden age of infotech

Zeffri said the initiative was not aimed at profit-making, hence the website would be free of advertisements.

The site includes a version of Google's news aggregator, Google News, that is customised for the looming election, voter education websites like Undi Malaysia, and links to the websites of several prominent political parties.

There is also a link that points to Google Trends, which tracks Google search patterns in each state across Malaysia.

To a question, Zeffri said over 98 percent of Internet searches in Malaysia are made through the Internet giant's services.

However, he said, Google News would only feature English language news because the current system cannot automatically find and add news articles from non-English news sites.

Zeffri was coy when answering questions on whether Google would provide live reports of the election results as they are announced.

"We have reached out (to the Election Commission), and we will continue to reach out," he said, when asked if Google has approached electoral body for the necessary data.

Goh ( above, right ) added that Google would only be relying on official results.

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