By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
Four years ago at the last party conventions, when they nominated George W Bush and John Kerry, YouTube didn’t even exist (imagine that – a world with no YouTube!). But now, with YouTube a dominant force on the internet, Google is determined to make its presence felt in Denver next week at the Democratic and Republican Conventions in St Paul in September.
They plan to do this by offering software and services for up to 500 bloggers who have paid $100 each for the privilege. This will include workspace, internet access, couches, food (including smoothies and candy) and Google will even throw in relaxing massages if all that political blogging is too stressful. It just won’t be the kind of massages that the politicians will be used to!
The bloggers will also have press credentials so they can mingle around the convention center to find their hot scoop or film a politician in a compromising situation that they can then upload to YouTube. Watch out Bill! Don’t grope that intern! There’s a camcorder following you!
“There’s no such thing as off the record anymore. There’s no such thing as private moments anymore,” says Simon Rosenberg, president and founder of NDN, formerly the New Democrat Network, and the New Politics Institute.
“We saw that with ‘macaca,'” Mr. Rosenberg said, referring to an incident in 2006 when a videographer recorded then-Sen. George Allen using a term often considered derogatory to some ethnic groups. “This is the condition of life now in the new media age.”
I think we’re going to see some interesting reporting at the conventions. We’re also going to see Google testing out some of their new beta tools such as their software which transcribes audio from video into text. I briefly reviewed it on my own blog. It’s rough around the edges but shows a lot of promise. So expect the political speeches from YouTube to be transcribed using this tool and then swiftly indexed on Google.