Wednesday, November 7, 2012 | 7:45 PM
Last night, the US election came to Berlin in a big way. More than 2000 people from the worlds of politics, media and business convened in Deutsche Telekom’s historic Telegraph Building to follow the action and debate the election live - in person, on air, and online.
German public broadcaster ZDF anchored its election reporting from the event - one of the largest held anywhere outside the US. For our part, we teamed up with ZDF and the American Academy in Berlin, who used Google+ technology to host two live “Transatlantic Election Hangouts”.
The Hangouts featured Bundestag President Norbert Lammert, Die Zeit editor Josef Joffe, former German Ambassador to the US Wolfgang Ischinger and President of the Brookings Institution, Strobe Talbott. The discussions were broadcast live to the web as "Hangouts on Air" for politically interested European citizens and people around the world on Google+ and YouTube. ZDF also integrated Hangouts on Air with bloggers in the US into their live programming.
Alongside ZDF, Deutsche Telekom, Google and the American Academy, the event was co-hosted by organisations including the US Embassy in Berlin, the American Chamber of Commerce, Tagesspiegel and the German Newspaper Association (VDZ) among others - each of whom welcomed guests to their own booths.
On the Google stand, guests were able to access a wide range of information via the Google elections page, including results displayed state by state on a Google Map in real time, live reporting on YouTube by US broadcasters and newspapers, and the volume of search queries by state for each candidate. Prominent guests including US-ambassador Philip D. Murphy and the Head of the SPD fraction in the German Bundestag Frank-Walter Steinmeier dropped by to take a look. Every two hours our guests were able to chat with Google’s election team in Washington DC via Hangout to get the freshest insights into how the race was playing out online.
When the event kicked off at 7pm last night, we knew it was going to be an exciting night. Thanks to the Internet, we - and citizens across Germany and around the world - were able to follow the action in real time, see the results come in and discuss and debate with people on the ground in the US. When we left the building at 7am, bleary-eyed and exhausted, we knew just how close a race it had been.