Google has released an elections gadget designed to help iGoogle users keep up to date with the latest political news in the US.

Brittany Bohnet, Google's elections project manager, estimated in a blog post that more than a third of American, or more than 100 million people, will turn to the internet for election information in the coming year.

The Elections 2008 gadget aims to help iGoogle users more easily follow the news by aggregating campaign maps, news, videos and blog posts related to the election.

"You can choose the candidates you want to follow, or keep tabs on them all," Bohnet wrote. "Make sure to check out the maps tab of this gadget to view candidate event trails. Try searching for your own city or state to see which presidential hopeful will be campaigning near you."

This ramping up of focus on the US election follows a similar effort by Google to help Australian users keep up with political news prior to the federal elections held there on November 24. The Google election site there provided users with maps showing electorate boundaries, along with detail of each post up for election.

Google created several iGoogle gadgets for the Australian election site, including one to help users search for statements made by current members of parliament and another to let users search news and query volumes to see what issues were most significant to voters. Another gadget delivered news and videos from a user's specific electoral seat directly to users individual iGoogle pages.