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Wikipedia VP Watchers: Now There's an App for That

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, August 10 2012

There's nothing like the ingenuity of mobile app developers, apparently. This just in: In response to my story Monday suggesting that edits on the Wikipedia pages of potential Republican vice presidential candidates could be a tip-off to Mitt Romney's pending announcement, a Silicon Valley engineer and author named Martin Ford has built "Romney VP Predictor," an Android app that automatically checks the Wikipedia pages for Mitt Romney's leading vice presidential candidates and then tabulates the number of recent edits to the pages.

While Wikipedia is still limiting access to those pages to registered users, Jennifer Lee, an associate for Ford's, says, "The Romney campaign will almost certainly have access to people with editing privileges, and it seems very likely that the campaign will want to sanitize the VP pick's Wikipedia page given the tremendous traffic this page is sure to receive after the announcement. We therefore believe that Wikipedia may still be a useful indicator."

The app is tracking the pages of Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Rob Portman, Chris Christie, Tim Pawlenty, Bobby Jindal, David Petraeus, and Condi Rice. It automatically updates on launch and has a button to seek fresh updates.

Lee adds, "The developer who wrote the app is experimenting with Android for the first time and just wanted an idea for a fun app. He is also the author of a book, "The Lights in the Tunnel" about the future impact of technology on the economy. The app has a small promotional link to the book on Amazon...So it is mostly for fun, but with a shameless book plug built in...."