Google asked U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday make more government websites search engine friendly.
At the invitation of a Senate committee, Google's public policy manager John Needham testified in Washington that the federal government can use a technical web standard on its sites that will allow major search engines to browse them easily. Currently some government sites are not search engine friendly.
Commercial search engines such as Google copy web information and store it for fast access when users type in search words. Citing research from the Pew Internet and American Life, Project, Needham said 77 percent of U.S. Internet users go online to find some form of government information.
What this means is that, in implementing Sitemaps, a government agency can be sure it's better serving the American people, no matter which search engine individual citizens are using, Needham, Google's public sector relations manager said, according to a prepared statement.
The Sitemap Protocol standard, will enable major search engines - including those from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft - to easily make indexes of all pages on a site.
Needham spoke at a meeting called by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The hearing had the theme of E-Government 2.0: Improving Innovation, Collaboration, and Access.
In 2002, the government signed into law the E-Government Act of 2002 which required government agencies to make more information available. That law is now up for renewal.
Among the sites the government has set up since it passed the E-Government Act of 2000 are www.business.gov, which gives users faster access to compliance information, forms and government contacts. The government's official Internet portal is www.USA.gov, where users can locate a wide array of government information.
Other presenters at the meeting included Karen Evans an administrator from the government's Office of Management and Budget, Jimmy Wales, the founder of WikiPedia, and Ari Schwartz, a representative from the non-profit Center for Democracy & Technology.