July 19th, 2007 | Published in Google Public Policy
I'm excited about a new partnership that Google announced yesterday with the State of Michigan -- for two reasons. Not only will this partnership help make the online information and services provided by the state's government more accessible to its citizens through Google and other search engines (something everyone can support), but it also benefits residents of my home state (and where, coincidentally, I worked before joining Google two months ago).
As part of our alliance with Michigan, we've helped state government agencies implement what's called the Sitemap Protocol, which enables Google and other search engines that support the protocol (including Microsoft and Yahoo) to more comprehensively access and index the pages of their websites, specifically records in large online databases, making them visible in search results.
For example, Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) test scores for hundreds of schools spanning multiple years currently reside in over 25,000 documents. The new partnership will allow a user to find the results for the school name and test year, eliminating multiple searches requests and clicks. It will also help make accessible information about child day care centers and homes, workers compensation appellate decisions, fish stocking, Michigan school report cards, lane closures on Michigan roads, and more.
Michigan is the fifth state we've partnered with in this effort to help Google users better access their government online, joining Arizona, California, Utah and Virginia. In the past, governments fulfilled their obligation to make information accessible by providing a document reading room or public notices in the newspaper. Today, the pioneering efforts of some states are bring citizens closer than ever to government -- literally one search away.
As luck would have it, I'm actually in the Wolverine State today, preparing for the National Governors Association meeting here in Traverse City. Our CEO Eric Schmidt will be here this weekend, and we'll be spreading the word about this issue.