Google's CEO wants IT to open up government

Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt today explained how he thinks information technology has changed how the federal government deals with its people, and suggested improvements in that area.

Schmidt, who advises President-elect Barack Obama, said he is optimistic that technology could help the country rebound from the economic meltdown and find ways to tackle its energy problems.


Schmidt's sponsors said he was not speaking on behalf of the Obama transition team or the president-elect when he made the remarks at an event in Washington, D.C. held by the New America Foundation, a think tank. Schmidt is also chairman of the board of the organization.

“It’s time to restore trust in how our government works, how it makes its decisions.” he said. “This notion of engagement is fundamental to I think how do we get through this.”


He mentioned Obama’s use of Google’s YouTube recently to broadcast a video of his radio address. Schmidt said this was important because the platform allows people to debate and engage with what Obama said by posting videos.

“I would argue that the Internet was a big winner in 2008,” he said. “There’s no question that President-elect Obama used the Internet very skillfully, especially early on when he was not as well known.”

Schmidt also suggested using IT tools to get more people involved in the legislative process. “Government has not embraced generically the tools that we all use every day,” he said. “They have not embraced blogs, video, all the information sources – it’s time.”


However, Schmidt said he was optimistic that the country would meet the current economic and energy challenges. He emphasized the importance of public-private partnerships in research and development projects.

“Let’s take the crisis, let’s take this huge set of issues that we face and let’s deal with it like an opportunity to get the structure right,” he said.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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