A Google-Spangled White House Town Hall

    March 25, 2009

Welcome to the Google Government.  As the new administration continues to get settled in, more and more software from Mountain View is coming into play, with Google Moderator, App Engine, and YouTube all getting a turn in the spotlight this week.

President Obama’s use of the video-sharing site should probably be explained first.  Earlier this week, he recorded a short clip asking citizens to submit questions to WhiteHouse.gov and vote on questions proposed by others.  He’ll answer some of the top-rated inquiries on Thursday.  So YouTube’s been given a key role in letting people interact with their government.

Next, an even more obvious government-Google connection is evident in the administration’s use of Google Moderator and App Engine – these products power the whole "Open for Questions" online town hall experience.  A total of 11,529 questions and 370,192 votes are in the search giant’s hands so far.

And there’s almost no telling what’ll come next.  In our new era of cost-cutting and tech awareness, the government might find all sorts of ways to use Google’s free offerings instead of more expensive and less effective tools.

This may create some problems, of course – would a simple Gmail outage cause another market crash?  Antitrust proceedings (or the lack thereof) could also get sticky.  But we’ll see where things go, and perhaps even try submitting a related question to WhiteHouse.gov to get a quick answer.