Ken vs Boris: mapping the election with Google Experimental

I’ve been experimenting with one of Google Experimental’s toys today.  I’m already a member of the Alternate views for search results group (you can only join one at a time), and had been looking at their timeline search, which brings up time lines of significant events in relation to your search terms.


But today I tried their map search.  Underneath all the explanations are a few fixed searches they have devised – so clicking on the PGA Tour map search, I can then ignore these results, and experiment with a few searches of my own, with the following grammar:


(search terms) view:map


I thought I’d apply it to the London Mayoral election candidates, and see what kind of results are brought back from a map-based search of (some of) the net.


A search for Boris Johnson brought back several stories from around London including his main Wikipedia page, information from his opponents at,  and press releases from his site (about meeting members of London’s Greek community).


His name also cropped up in Liverpool though, the scene of his famous grovelling apology for that ‘vicarious victimhood’ remark in 2004, following the murder of Ken Bigley in Iraq.


Ken Livingstone’s results also brought back several stories from around London, though more generic in nature.  The sources carried here included Wikipedia (again), (unsurprisingly), The Grauniad’s commentisfree, BBC news, and  All pretty much pro-Ken.


A story about Liverpool, though not from the city, also appeared. This was concerned with his apology for London’s participation in the transatlantic slave trade, from last year, and merely cited Liverpool as having already done something similar.  So in this sense, the mapping still seems a bit woolly.

A search for Brian Paddick brought back nothing at all, so its’ not just the media who think it’s a two-horse race!


Still, I think this approach to the reporting of news, especially election-based news, has fantastic potential – and just hope Google can develop it to better represent what’s available out there.  I daresay Brian Paddick would agree!


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