Thanks to an agreement with Google, Virginia's 95 agencies will expose their databases to the search engine, making them widely accessible to the public, The Washington Post reports. Google will announce similar deals with California, Arizona and Utah.
"These are difficult databases to access," said Aneesh Chopra, the Virginia secretary of technology. "They don't have any of the search features and functionality you might find at Google." Chopra said the top priority of the state's strategic plan for information technology, which was adopted last year, is increased access to government information.
Google will also be able to connect information available in the different databases, the Post said. For instance, a users searching a Mecicaid site would not only get that site's information about a specific doctor but also complaints lodged against the doctor from a different agency's database.
Google spokesman J.L. Needham said the company's research found that as many as 80 percent of people who visit government Web sites get there through search engines. It also found that most Web managers at government agencies focus primarily on Web site design and search within their specific sites.