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Federal Eye
Posted at 03:27 PM ET, 05/23/2012

Government focusing on mobile

Facebook this week is getting pounded for dropping the ball on mobile. Well, the White House doesn’t want the government to drop it, too.

President Obama issued a directive Wednesday that encourages federal agencies to make their Web sites and documents accessible on mobile platforms.

“For far too long, the American people have been forced to navigate a labyrinth of information across different Government programs in order to find the services they need,” Obama said in the directive.

Federal agencies will have 12 months to lay out new Internet strategies that make information retrieval more efficient. Agencies are encouraged to think of mobile products that could make public access easier across several digital platforms.

“Government services often are not optimized for smartphones or tablets, assuming the services are even available online,” Obama said. wrote.

Several federal agencies have taken to mobile over the past few years, however.

In March, the Government Accountability Office launched a mobile app that allows people to access their reports, podcasts and video demonstrations.

Lost your passport in Ouagadougou? The State Deparment has a mobile embassy tracker. Is your alternative fuel car running near empty? The Department of Energy has a mobile tracker of alternative fuel stations. Then there’s the USMSPB Mobile App. That long acronym is for the Merit Systems Protection Board.

The White House, FBI, Office of Personnel Management and the Transportation Security Administration all have mobile presences through Apple’s iTunes store.

But the president wants more as more Internet usage shifts to mobile platforms.

“Ultimately, this strategy will ensure that agencies use emerging technologies to serve the public as effectively as possible,” Obama said.

By Timothy R. Smith  |  03:27 PM ET, 05/23/2012

 
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