reported that the directions it got were wrong. Today the publication posted a follow-up story saying that Google likely provided at least a quarter of a million households with wrong polling locations, but Google isn't taking this criticism lying down.It's the day after Election Day and that means one thing - people are looking for someone else to blame. This morning, that scapegoat looks to be Google. Yesterday, the search engine offered quick and easy directions to users' nearest polling places, but Fast Company
According to one Google employee, Fast Company's "publishing a bs table from a competitor [...] is ethically wrong" and Google's performance yesterday was "nearly flawless".
According to today's article on Fast Company, Aristotle, a "political technology" company, reviewed Google's polling place data over the past two weeks in 12 states and found that Google could have provided nearly 727,000 households with inaccurate polling place information. Fast Company included a table of numbers, as shown below:
Chris DiBona, the open source and public sector programs manager at Google, confirmed with us that he left the following comment on the Fast Company article:
So we found a few cases where we had some out of date information from a few secretaries of states office and fixed it pretty much immediately.
Publishing a bs table from a competitor, Aristotle, whose big complaint is that we don't match their database, which we refused to pay big money for, is ethically wrong for Fast Company or Gizmodo to do.
We helped literally millions of people to find out where they could vote today, and we're very proud of that work, which was nearly flawless.
We asked Brandi Travis, manager of grassroots services at Aristotle, for a response to DiBona's comments and received the following:
Aristotle took 1,000 random records from each state and ran those records against whereivote.com which uses real-time official information, as provided by the State and County elections' offices. Then the same records were run through Google's Polling locator system and the results were compared. In some cases, Google incorrectly identified polling locations in the sampling states. Aristotle has calculated the error rate and extrapolated it against the total number of registered voters' addresses to determine the potential number of affected households.
To be clear, however, whereivote.com appears to be a site powered by Aristotle itself (as it says on site's masthead). So, Aristotle compared Google's numbers to its own information and provided these numbers to Fast Company.
"I don't care how out of date Aristotle's Database is," DiBona told us by email, "our data comes from the board of elections for all these states and are as up to date as they can be."