Google’s Government Search
Google launched a search site specializing in U.S. government information on Thursday. It’s called, appropriately enough, Google U.S. Government Search, and it covers a number of sources from local, state, and federal levels.
The search engine is primarily targeted at the federal employees who extensively use government sites, but it also has applications that should make it extremely helpful to contractors and the general public.
For more specific examples of what the new search engine can do, the Google Blog proclaims it will “find those IRS forms to get your taxes in on time,” and “figure out where to send your DMV fees, or find the phone number for your local parks and rec department.”
Google’s newest tool will, of course, include websites with .gov and .mil domains in its searches, and it also looks at some government sites with .com, .edu, and .us domains. Users can add further sources via RSS feeds, and can also personalize the look of the search page.
There are some who consider the Google government search a direct competitor to the government-sponsored site Firstgov.gov, but Google officials have said their product will complement, and not oppose, Firstgov. The Firstgov site is powered by Microsoft’s MSN system, which has had some clashes with Google products in the past.
The Google Search Appliance and Google Earth Enterprise have already helped the search engine company make significant inroads with the U.S. government. It even has a federal sales operation, headed by Mike Bradshaw. Google U.S. Government Search should only further develop the relationship between the two entities.