When many of us think of Google, normally images of Android, Glass and of course Giant Statues come to mind. However a lesser known division of Google known as Google Ideas has been known to crank out a few projects of their own over the years. Their latest project is known as Constitute, an interactive tool to help developing democracies develop their own constitutions. This online tool was written with the collaboration of the Comparative Constitutions Project.
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A constitution is a document that lays the framework as to how a country will be ran. It establishes basic laws and rights of every citizen within its control. Although creating a new constitution is not an everyday occurrence, Google reports that around five new constitutions are written every year and at least 30 revisions are added on a global basis per year. There is clearly a (small) demand for such a tool.
Constitutional Drafters often take on the momentous task of writing the initial constitution for a country. They often spend large amounts of time reading and understanding the constitutions of other similar countries and use them as a base for their new work. This lengthy process is made difficult by the incredibly tight deadlines that are often required.
Aside from writing constitutions, this tool offers an incredible search experience (I hope you would come to expect that from Google by now) and can also be used by students for research purposes. You can search for individual topics as well as each time they were tagged in a specific country. For example, you can search for how “Women’s Rights” are viewed in African countries after the year 1945 with a few simple clicks.
Google wants the average user to use this tool as a way to understand their own constitution and hopefully gain a sense of ownership in the document that governs your country. The tool should also be of use for lawmakers to determine if their new proposals are aligned with their country’s constitution.