Private aid for fed portal
- By William Matthews
- Jun 26, 2000
A developer of sophisticated Internet search engines has offered to build
a governmentwide portal free of charge to make it easier for Internet users
to find information posted online by federal agencies.
Eric Brewer, a University of California computer scientist and founder
of the search engine company Inktomi Corp., will have the portal ready to
run in about 90 days, the Clinton administration announced.
The portal will be called "firstgov.gov" and will replace WebGov, a
portal that the General Services Administration has been developing for
Firstgov will connect to all information federal agencies have put online,
said David Barram, GSA administrator. It will be able to search a half-billion
documents in less than a quarter of a second and will be able to handle
100 million searches each day, he said.
Inktomi's contribution is expected to save the government the projected
$5 million to $20 million cost of developing the government portal.
Brewer's work will be "a gift to the American people," said Sally Katzen,
counselor to the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Brewer
is a strong believer in open access to government information and wants
"to give back" to the nation, Katzen said.
News of firstgov was to be announced by President Clinton June 24 in
a Webcast address to the nation — the president's first Webcast, according
to the White House.
In addition to firstgov, the Clinton administration announced it plans
to make it possible for individuals and small businesses to apply for grants
and bid for government contracts online. Grants and contracts could be worth
hundreds of billions of dollars.
The administration will also offer a $50,000 prize for the most innovative
proposal that advances user-friendly electronic government. The prize will
be administered by the Council for Excellence in Government and funded through