Google Issues a Call For Legislative Transparency

    June 15, 2012
    Sean Patterson
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Google has issued a statement announcing that it believes public policy should be based on sound data analysis. Seth Webb, a senior policy manager for Google, stated that Google takes transparency seriously, and that it also believes citizens can be more active in politics when more data is made public. Webb announced Google’s transparency stance in a post on the Google Public Policy Blog:

Last year, for example, the U.S. House of Representatives identified transparency as one of its top priorities, and since then it has taken several steps towards becoming more open. The House now streams and archives video of committee hearings, and it shares draft legislation for public consultation online.

As part of its ongoing effort to promote openness and transparency, the House of Representatives voted for an appropriations bill that directs a task force to examine and expedite the process of disclosing large amounts of legislative data to the public. Even before the bill was passed, Congressional leadership issued a statement on the importance of transparency and requested for the task force to begin its work immediately.

Google is promoting the ability for bulk legislative data to be provided in formats such as XML, so that websites and apps can parse it and provide up-to-date information on legislation. Also, it hopes that researchers will be able to analyze the data for research purposes.

Webb praised earlier initiatives to open government data, such as President Obama’s recently issued Digital Government Strategy, which called for executive branch offices to open up more of their data and for more deployment of mobile technology that will allow citizens to access government data at all times. Alongside this praise, Webb also stated that Google looks forward to even more increased legislative transparency in the future.

  • MaurerPower

    ha, Google wanting OTHER people to be transparent? How does your content algorithm concretely measure a page? Accuracy, and not vague assertions please… How about backlinks, and a CONCRETE and FACTUAL statement about whether other people randomly bookmarking can actually penalize your site IN ANY SCENARIO. Matt Cutts is an incredibly nice guy and bring Google a LOT of good public relations karma. But they are the least transparent company I’ve ever seen. With their product becoming so critical to business owners, I believe the freedom of speech angle is irrelevant, much like it was for microsoft when the various ‘other’ web browser companies, sued them for monopolization because they included only their own product offerings inside of another one…

    Sound familiar? Adwords inside Google search anyone? I’ve been in the corporate and market research industry for 12 years now, working with some of the most advanced companies on earth, like Virgin, Merck Pharma, and companies of that ilk. The are transparent when asked how their product works. I don’t see the same here.

    Seth Webb should experience a government response similar to what Google gives thousands of webmasters daily…

    Seth: Excuse me, could you please provide information for me that I would like to advise my client base with?

    Gov’t: Well the information you ask for kind of goes like this, but sort of not, but usually it IS like I said before, but no I can’t actually show it to you specifically. Because then you might use that for market research and giving your clients what they’re looking for. Similar to how the real world works.

    P.s. you could also swap Seth with any web based franchise outlet (seeing as how Google doesn’t believe reselling/affiliate is ‘reputable’, although every major car company in the world does), and you can swap Gov’t with Google. Surprising that Seth would even risk speaking out about this….

    I do like Google, and I think their previous product was incredible. However, I have friends not in the IT industry who get irritated
    since the update because pages that showed up for them before, that they liked, have just vanished.

    I recommend Bing to all of my family and friends, including clients now. I have almost 90% of our local university now transferring over to using Bing as a standard research tool instead of Google search. It’s far less political, and much easier to work with. how do you teach a marketing class and create good web developers if you don’t know what to teach them? And no ‘good content’ now is not the same as it was before. If you write two articles about the exact same thing, just leave keywords out, that relevance is the same, but google rates one over the other. So yes, optimization is key, so how to optimize? Can we have metrics or numeric/statistical guidelines? No? I see….