Google Offers Free Enhanced Public Record Searching
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Teams with Arizona, California, Utah and Virginia to Make Already-Free Public Records Easier to Find

Google Inc. recently announced partnerships with the states of Arizona, California, Utah and Virginia to make it easier to retrieve hard-to-find government information on state government web sites. These relationships are meant to make more of the government information, already available free on the Internet, retrievable when perfoming a Google search. In some instances, the states have also upgraded the "internal" search functions of their own web sites to make information easier to retrieve. Google has helped state officials implement these web site improvements at no cost to the states through its public sector initiative. Despite the easy availability of additional information, not all the public record information that would be most useful to legal professionals can be retrieved this way. For example, much of the information held in certain state databases still requires an online visit to the web site of the agency that maintains the data in order to retrieve it.

To improve access to state agency websites, technology managers in the four states increased the amount of state information that is accessible through a Google search. Using the Google Custom Search Engine™ service, the states of Virginia and Utah now provide visitors to Virginia.gov and Utah.gov the ability to search for information from all sectors of government. While a tourist considering a visit to either state can conduct one search to find information on parks and recreation, whether provided by a federal, state, or local government source, a unified search for licensed professionals (like the one already offered by the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation at http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/regulantlookup/) is not available.

According to Google, this means search engine users interested in Virginia’s colonial history can now find a greater variety of online resources provided by the Commonwealth’s archive, the Library of Virginia. Additionally, Google claims that job seekers in Utah can now search on Google for employment in the state and find job postings provided by the state’s Department of Workforce Services. However, to retrieve information on corporation's registered in Utah still requires a visit to the Utah Department of Commerce Business Entity Search.

“Transparent digital government is a top priority in Virginia,” said Tim Kaine, Governor of Virginia. “Our goal is to provide easy, quick and intuitive citizen access to every government resource. Google is helping us to achieve it.”

Looking up information on education and health services in California has also become easier, according to Google, as agencies in the state have begun opening their databases to search engine users. For Arizona home buyers, a Google search for real estate professionals now leads to records in the Department of Real Estate’s database of licensed agents.

“California state government provides tremendous resources online for the public to learn about our great state," said California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Our partnership with Google will empower Californians to know more about our government and provide better access to services and helpful information.”

“Government must be innovative in order to offer the best possible services to citizens,” said Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, Chair of the National Governors Association. “Through this Google partnership, Arizona is continuing to fulfill its responsibility to make state government as open and accessible as possible to the public.”

“Connecting citizens with their government by offering the public better access to public sector information and services is consistent with our broader vision – to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” said Eric Schmidt, Google’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in a press release announcing the relationships. “These partnerships are among many that Google is pursuing with government agencies to better serve the public.”

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To read more about recent additions to Google's functionality, see these articles:

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