Photo: Michigan CIO Teri Takai
The state of Michigan today joined with Google Inc. in announcing a new partnership to make it easier for citizens using search engines to find government programs and services they need, using the latest online technology. Governor Jennifer M. Granholm said that this partnership is another step forward in Michigan's partnership with Google.
"Last year Google announced its decision to locate their Google AdWords division in Michigan creating 1,000 new jobs in our great state," said Governor Granholm. "And now, they are making it easier for Michigan residents to find critical information for their health care and public safety needs. We are a state leading the way in technology changes in the 21st century, and these expanded search capabilities take us another step in the right direction as we continue to innovate and move our state forward."
The new technology, a tool known as the Sitemap protocol, enables search engines like Google to access and index the records in online databases, making them accessible 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. Sitemaps allow a user to find the results for the school name and test year, eliminating multiple clicks and search requests.
Michigan is the fifth state in the nation to collaborate with Google in providing the state with the information they need to enhance the search results for state government. California, Utah, Virginia, and Arizona are taking similar steps in ensuring easy access to government information.
"Google has helped us implement these Web site improvements at no cost," said Teri Takai, director of the Michigan Department of Information Technology. "We will continue to work to open up even more of our 200 online applications using the Sitemap tool so that users can find what they need. This is one of many improvements we continue to make to Michigan.gov in order to keep pace with the demands and needs of our citizens."
Some of the state applications that will be affected include: child day care centers and homes, workers compensation appellate decisions, fish stocking, licensed nursery stock growers, licensed medical professionals, adequate yearly progress reports on education, Michigan school report cards, lane closures on Michigan roads, and unclaimed assets.