Google's state-of-the-art media center a major draw at Republican convention

Massage chairs. Treadmill desks. A giant touch screen allowing users to watch the convention and a crisis response center tracking Tropical Storm Isaac. Those are just some of the innovative features you’ll find inside Google’s official media center at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

The Internet giant’s presence as the convention’s official social media platform has journalists and convention-goers – including some prominent Republicans – flocking to its sexy, state-of-the-art hub set up inside the Tampa Convention Center.

"We’ve brought a little bit of Google to Tampa," Google spokeswoman Samantha Smith told


A walk through the brightly colored space showed reporters typing away behind stand-up desks that also served as treadmills, while enjoying free Wi-Fi and coffee, and visitors relaxing in reclining massage chairs -- "two of the things that we're kind of famous for at Google's Mountain View headquarters," Smith said.

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Google’s space features product demos, like a Google elections page touch screen, a computerized economic impact report and a crisis center detailing the movement of Isaac, Smith said. The center also houses a Google+ powered livestreaming studio and a “media wall” covered with screens that show the day’s trending news topics.

Smith said Google experienced a "huge spike" in searches on Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, as well as as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, after the two delivered their much-anticipated prime-time speeches Tuesday night before the convention.

Between the hours of 10 and 11 p.m., Smith said, the most popular search terms included “Ann Romney” and “Welsh” – a reference to the British island where Mrs. Romney said her grandfather was from. Other trending search terms included “Romney boys,” “five sons,” “Chris Christie bio” and the Bruce Springsteen album, Darkness on the Edge of Town, which Christie referenced during his keynote address.

“It’s kind of neat to see what’s on the mind,” Smith said. “More and more people aren’t just watching TV – they’re watching TV with their laptop and mobile device in their hand.”