Google is running an Election Day doodle in the U.S. today, as the nation works on electing its president for the next four years. The doodle this time does not take us to “Election Day” results, however. It takes us to results for “Where do I vote,” which provides a built in tool on the search results page for users to find their specific polling place based on their address. More on the tool itself here.
There is also a link on the homepage itself, which takes you to Google’s Elections site.
On the results page, the first organic (non-Google) result (at least for this writer) is canivote.org, which is maintained by the National Association of Secretaries of State (described as the “nation’s oldest, nonpartisan professional association for public officials”). Its members are the chief state election officials in 39 states, but the site is actually hosted by Kansas.gov.
The second result I see is for a Louisville KY voting site from the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office. This is presumably targeted to me because I’m in Kentucky, but since I live closer to Lexington (which would still not be helpful to me since I live in a different town), the result is pretty much useless. After that it’s a polling place finder for Minnesota. Then Massachusetts, Michigan and Idaho related pages.
To make a long story short, without Google’s own tool, and possibly the first initial result, the organic results are simply not very good for the user. This makes Google’s own tool, which is the top non-paid result, the best result (out of the ones that are actually displayed). There is room for debate as to whether or not there are other choices on the web that are as good or better than Google’s tool.
Either way, this is an example of where Google can improve the user experience by simply providing its own service – a big topic fo discussion in the search world.