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FirstGov evolves into USA.gov

Yes, the government portal FirstGov has changed its name becoming USA.gov. (Type in either site and they take you to the same place.)

I have always been fascinated by FirstGov. (An aside: I actually wrote the first story about the concept of a government portal back way back in August 1998 when I worked for our now sister publication, Government Computer News.) WebGov eventually became FirstGov, and got a big boost when Eric Brewer, a University of California at Berkeley computer scientist and founder of the search engine company Inktomi, offered millions of dollars to defray the cost of developing FirstGov.

And FirstGov/USA.gov has really evolved over the years. I think it has a difficult task: providing information for the wide range of people who come seeking information from federal agencies. They do a relatively good job of providing timely information. For example, during tax season, they have tax information front and center...and generally they point people to IRS Web sites.

And they have information grouped by categories. I have seen some countries that provide more interesting groupings -- say, by the periods of one's life...childhood, the teen years, becoming new parents, and retirement. But USA.gov does a pretty good job, considering all the information that they have.

Of course, for the kick off of Federal Computer Week's 20th anniversary, we named search and WebGov/FirstGov/USA.gov as one of the 20 things over 20 years that changed government IT.

I was on DC's Federal News Radio this morning talking about all of this. Hear it here [Windows Media format].

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Jan 15, 2007 at 12:16 PM


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