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Google Boosts Funding and Support of Gov Tech Programs

At the Google Public Sector Forum, the tech giant announced new efforts focused on AI, citizen engagement, cybersecurity and other areas. The work could influence activities at all levels of government.

The Google logo on the side of a glass building.
Funding for public-sector training, a citizen engagement push and wider access to a state nutrition program: Those are among the latest steps taken by Google as its continues to build its government technology presence.

Google announced a handful of government tech efforts at this week’s Google Public Sector Forum in Washington, D.C., where the theme was “The Intersection of AI and Security.”

During the event, Google intended to show how it is “helping government agencies, education institutions and industry experts implement the latest technology more securely,” according to an email from a Google spokesperson.

News from the forum would seem to show that.

For instance, Google said it has expanded its partnership with Deloitte to help public agencies, as well as colleges and universities, “harness” generative AI, according to a statement.

More specifically, that means Deloitte will “quadruple its Google Public Sector resources” toward that goal, helping to launch new tools centered not only around AI but machine learning and data analytics. This particular work will focus on such areas as citizen engagement — for example, by improving state eligibility technology so that residents can better access services — and geospatial scenario planning and monitoring, which can help with disaster response, urban planning and infrastructure development, a move that reflects a larger trend in gov tech.

“With these new investments and our ongoing collaboration with Google Public Sector, Deloitte will help engineer advantage for our government, higher education and nonprofit clients so they can better address the most complex challenges facing their organizations,” said Jason Salzetti, principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP and Deloitte’s government and public services industry leader, in that statement.

As for cybersecurity, Google this week has teamed with Accenture Federal Services on a Cybersecurity Center of Excellence.

A threat intelligence platform from Mandiant will play a central role in this federally focused work; Google bought Mandiant just more than a year ago.

Back at the state level, Google at its event said it helped craft “a new intake and scheduling experience with an automated contact center” for the Missouri Department of Social Services.

The agency’s Family Support Division during the pandemic experienced a “sharp rise” in SNAP applicants, who faced a relatively lengthy interview process before gaining benefits.

“We saw a lot of families who had never been on public assistance before,” said Nichole Conway, program manager at the Missouri Department of Social Services, in a statement.

The state worked with Google Public Sector and Genesys to create cloud-based “virtual agents” to handle interview scheduling, which reduced the blocked call rate to 10 percent from 60 percent. The average speed for answering inbound calls dropped by 70 percent.

Google also is helping to fund public-sector training via a $2 million investment in InnovateUS, a training organization for public servants involved in teaching those officials about artificial intelligence. The money will help InnovateUS train people “with job-ready skills” in cybersecurity, data analytics and other areas.