THE TRUTH ABOUT IOWA: Google Sponsors The Press centre -- Free Food, Treadmills, And WiFi For All!

google iowa press centre

DES MOINES — Google kicked off the 2012 presidential race with a bang today, launching a hub for 2012 election coverage just in time for tonight’s first-in-nation Iowa caucuses.

The site, Google Elections, tracks political news and trends, with specific tools that allow voters, journalists, and campaigns to sort through election info by candidate, race, and issues. A Trends page measures the real-time popularity of the candidates by comparing YouTube video views, search traffic, and Google News hits.

We haven’t had a lot of time to explore, but Google is clearly trying to lure journos to the new hub straight out of the gate. The search giant is sponsoring the media filing centre for the Iowa caucuses, and it is totally tricked out.

The company took over a concourse in the Polk County Convention centre in downtown Des Moines this week, converting it into a very Google-style loft where reporters can work, hang, eat, and network while they’re in Iowa. It’s a pretty sweet space that is bound to get pretty raucous when the results start coming in this evening.

The main media filing centre, which takes up one-third of the room, is pretty stylish

It will probably be the backdrop for most of the cable news shows tonight

But reporters can also kick back and work from beanbags in the Google Media Hangout

Where there is endless food.

And a coffee bar run by Java Joe's, a local cafe

There are also two work treadmills so you can file while you work out. (So far, no one seems interested in this, although it is totally awesome)

Obviously, Google+ is front and centre — Google staffers are running public hangouts throughout the filing centre.

The Google Election touch screens will reportedly have heatmaps to deliver real-time results from the Iowa caucuses.

A Google goodies stands is giving away all kinds of Iowa-themed Google merchandise to journalists.

The loot included a scarf, handwarmers, two types of gloves, and the requisite notebook

And in the event of some tech emergency, the Google Tech centre will fix your laptop for free and lend you a Chromebook while you wait.

But outside of the filing centre, Des Moines is a circus

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