YEAH yeah, we’ve all heard about the Gov 2.0 movement but has anyone outside the Washington Beltway actually positively, knowingly benefitted from it? Please correct me if I’m wrong but it feel like there has been a good deal of positive chatter and opening of kimonos and talk of transparency but not a lot of action, at least on the geo-mobile side. And by gosh there certainly could be, given the mountains of data and such trapped inside (i dunno) mainframes and steely rectangular gov’t-issued desks.
Oh but wait. Wait just one second.
Click over to USA.gov and besides the very fine new search (backed by Bing) with realtime predictive seek, a hip “Search Trends” list and some useful dhtml or AJAX effects, down at the bottom we find a little apps store. Inside are nearly 30 mobile apps for everything from product recalls to “USAJOBS” to the Postal Service (track a package with your phone) to a localized Alternative Fuel Finder; and, a more comprehensive “USA.gov” mobile Web and iPhone app.
While the ones we tried turned out to be surprisingly useful – or at least I can see how they would be upon point of need – I do wish they were more location-aware and tapped my GPS for location rather than making me type it in over an again. And the TSA app (yes, the TSA has an app) threw an error, but hey they have larger things on their hands after all.
A particular exception to my nit-picking is “Find a Health Center” by the Department of Health and Human Services. This nifty iPhone app grabs your locale and with a click shows you the nearest health center that provides services gratis. And if you’re wondering why someone with an iPhone would need a free health clinic finder, think of the millions in the U.S. who have been laid off and still are locked in by ATT. Yeah.
From what I can see none of these apps comes with a fee and most of the location-focused products do what they promise.
So while this Gov 2.0 thing has brought a bit of hype with it perhaps it’s also bringing results. More than good enough for government work I’d say.
BTW: the apps are here: http://apps.usa.gov/
(Disclosure: I know people involved in consulting around USA.gov).
This post originally appeared on Locl.ly.