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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Google Finding Quotes

Google added a new service to their Labs called Google In Quotes. This site lets you enter a keyword and then shows you what some politicians – from Canada, India, UK and USA, like Gordon Brown or George W. Bush – said about this topic. Quotes are shown side-by-side for comparison. In the top right, you can switch to another country edition. Already, Google has a quote finder in Google News, and Google In Quotes is also linked to Google News.

Entering the keyword “troops”, for instance, and comparing George W. Bush with Barack Obama, yields quotes like these (you can page through different quotes at the site):

George W. BushBarack Obama
A big announcement from President Bush today......The president this morning said eight thousand US troops will come home from Iraq by February......That will bring troops to near pre - surge levels.CBS News Correspondent Susan Roberts has the... In an opinion piece in the New York Times last month, Obama said of Afghanistan, “we need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there. I will not hold our military, our...
In Washington, Bush in a statement called the handover “a credit to the courage of our troops, the Iraqi security forces, and the brave tribes and other civilians from Anbar.” “Today, my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration,” Obama said.

Google in their In Quotes FAQ says, “Much of the published reporting about people is based on the interpretation of a journalist. Direct quotes, on the other hand, are concrete units of information that describe how newsmakers represent themselves.” Admittedly, in a media environment that actually works, journalists can fact-check what politicians say, provide counter-statements from other sources, draw historical comparisons, compare what was claimed to the politician’s real actions, provide deeper analysis into the underlying issues, and so on.

Now, it would be interesting to see this tool be rolled out to other countries and languages, and also to see it cover more than just politicians – like important business people, scientists, actors and so on (a free-style name field could even cover any person at all).

[Thanks VatsaL and Beussery!]


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