Sponsoring the media hangout center at the Polk County Convention Complex for this year's Iowa caucus, Google is wooing political journalists with tricked-out treadmills and bean bag chairs. From what we can tell, Google designed its Media Filing Center, which it's co-sponsoring with the AARP, to make the grueling days of political blogging on the campaign trail feel just a little cheerier.
Google told the Des Moines Register back in November that the media filing room would have "several surprises" for caucus night. We hear Google will have heat maps showing caucus participation from Politico's Mike Allen, who is currently camping out in the media center. But, we think the room itself is a big fun surprise. The area, as you can see in the photos below, from the Iowa Events Center Twitter feed and photo journalist Brad Fulton, has primary colored bean bag chairs scattered about for the blogger who would like to channel their inner 12-year-old girl. But Google knows sitting in bean bags chairs is only fun for about 12 seconds, and has also provided some white mid-century modern-esque scoopy chairs and matching white couches for the more practical journalist. As for the reporter trying to stay in shape, Google has two laptop equipped treadmills, according to Allen. Seating for everyone!
But the fun doesn't stop there, Google's also provided touchscreen TVs (for the heatmaps), a tech help center, a satellite Java Joe's location and will serve local cuisine. Fried things, we guess? Mike Allen gives us a tour below:
This center is actually less tricked out than the one Google provided for the Fox News Republican Debate in Florida last September, which on top of bean bag chairs, had both smoothie and sticker bars, a movie theater, and candy. Google sponsored a reporter's lounge four years ago for Election 2008. But this year they have the AARP on board, too.
Google's presence, of course, extends into the digital realm, with its online information hub, Google.com/elections, where it will post relevant caucus information, including news articles, links to voter resources, and a trends dashboard for each candidate -- not as colorful as the physical space, but useful for those of us not able to make it all the way to Google's lounge playground.