The new Google site, U.S. Government Search, offers a focused searching ground for, well, all things government. The engine seems geared toward federal employees and perhaps subcontractors dealing with the U.S. government, but looks useful for anyone looking to navigate the massive bureaucracy.
FirstGov.gov, the U.S. government's official Web portal, does offer a search engine, but seems to be more of a directory of government agencies and topics. It is sectioned by "For Citizens," "For Business and Nonprofits," "Government to Government" and "Federal Employees." There is also a Spanish language version.
People who use Google's U.S. government site can restrict searches to government sites, and the results point to specific pages within those sites, not just to a home page of the appropriate government agency.
The idea is that federal employees will no longer have to start from a directory or .gov site and search for information by agency. Test searches also reveal an understanding of how government agencies are cross-connected. The results, which included many state Web sites as well as federal ones, offer a layered look at a single topic.
The Google U.S. Government Search home page is customizable like the regular Google home page. Only instead of general news it features items like White House News, American Forces Information Services, weather for Washington, D.C., and headlines from Government Executive Magazine. (Too bad "George" still isn't around. It would fit right in.)
The search engine result pages likewise feature word-related ads. There is a clever change in Google's logo, however, once Google completes a search.
It all brings new meaning to the term G-man.
The site's launch was first announced by The Washington Post.