TV talent show American Idol, its producer FremantleMedia and broadcaster Fox have been very innovative in their use of digital platforms for voting and other activity. This year’s series, which is about to kick off its live shows, continues the trend. For the first time, viewers will be able to vote from Google on computers, tablets or smartphones. Anyone searching Google for American Idol (or just “idol”) will be presented with a collection of thumbnails for the finalists, and will be able to add up to 50 votes per contestant. They’ll then be pointed to Idol videos on YouTube, and invited to share their preferences on the Google+ social network. Separately, FremantleMedia says it’ll be working with Facebook on “visual, on-air voting progress updates based on real-time East Coast voting data during select live shows”, tapping Facebook’s voting data to see who’s doing well with viewers. It’s also promising to feature fans’ Facebook profile photos in the broadcast, as an incentive for them to interact via the social network.