GoogleLocalGov

Google have decided it is time to talk to local government about what they can do for us. Or how they can make money for us. Or how they can make money out of us. Anyway, they’ve decided we should talk.

So GoogleLocalGov was a kind invitation for us local gov geeks to go to the Google Cave and look at the precious things they have there. And they do have pretty, shiny, cool things.

The offices are what you would expect really. I’m probably not meant to say much about them. They were, you know, funky and that. A good space where people could be kinda kooky and creative while being mindfully corporate at the same time.

Anyway, class was in session. They’d got a roomful of some of the most enthusiastic and social media savvy local gov webbies, techies, communicators (and me) and this was their chance to show us what they’d got and start a conversation with us. We all expected sales pitch and that’s what we got.

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

They opened with telling us Google wanted to know how it could help public sector organisations produce quality digital content. They talked about the Digital Britain landscape, about cloud computing (giggles in the room as *we* all want to work in/with the cloud but IT usually has another opinion), about how mobile internet is growing (12 per cent UK households rely on mobile telephony, iPhone have made people believe in the mobile internet and there is no going back), and about using search stats to see how users interests are changing in order to harness the zeitgeist to plan work.

Google want to help us direct users to our sites, manage our costs, make our website work harder, monetise (eww, bad word) and encouraged us to think about how now data beats opinion in the content stakes.

Showcase time: They started with the products which are clearly most important to them (the money makers); AdWords, AdSense, search and Enterprise. Makes sense given that they are their core products.Then they showed us OpenSocial, YouTube and iGoogle; Android and finally Google Maps.

It was a long, packed day and this post is likely to follow the same tack so brace yourself. Or skip my notes from the day and go straight to the website they have about all these products – google.co.uk/localgov.

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11 thoughts on “GoogleLocalGov

  1. Thanks for some really detailed notes. I just wanted to ask you to clarify what “The Ordnance Survey” question is, for those of us not in local government and who can only guess at what it might mean 🙂

    Thanks.

  2. Ah, yes, sorry!
    It is around the issue of copyrighted information – I’m not completely on top of the details but understand OS have some issues with putting geo-information they see as theirs into Google or some other mapping systems. That is a very broad overview and may be slightly missing the finer point of the issue! Hopefully someone will correct if I am wrong / missing something!
    🙂

  3. Great write up, Sarah! Just to elaborate on the OS issue, it’s basically that any GIS data produced by an OS system is then subsequently owned by the OS and cannot, say, be exported to use in GMaps. Microsoft seem to have an agreement with OS that gets around this and Google aparently do with their pro version of the maps API, however it’s not clear if these issues have been cleared up for the basic version. It’s kind of akin to Microsoft turning round and saying “Okay, you’ve made that Word doc. You can’t now turn that word doc into a PDF because we now own it. Kthxbai!”

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