Google announced on their public policy blog, essentially a PR blog for Google’s side of policy issues, that they released Google Apps for the public sector. This is of special interest to me because I am working on a project with TechShop Madison where I’ll be helping a non-profit meet it’s goals through the use of Web 2.0. The new Google Apps include:
Google Maps and Earth – This gives non-profits and government organizations that same ability that may corporate sites use already (think clothing stores). or as Google puts it, “non-profits and public benefit organizations [gain] the knowledge and resources they need to visualize their cause.”
Public Sector Content – Basically, this is allowing Google’s crawlers to access database information on websites. This is a bit freaky to me, but I can certainly see the pros of such a program.
Enterprise Solutions – This allows organizations to organize their information a bit better. As Google states it, “Google’s solutions for search, geospatial data, and communication & collaboration are easy to use and quick to deploy.”
It also gives a link to the regular Google Apps page, which I found unhelpful because I already use them, but I realized the usual Google Apps – Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sites, Talk – could actually be a huge boon to an underfunded non-profit or government organization. There are obvious concerns (security, for one), but it is certainly an option. And, of course, for government organization .gov services would be available.
This really just grows Google’s customer base, but if it is, as Google has been, doing far more good than harm, then I’m glad it gives public sector organizations and non–profits access to greater technology and thus more information, feedback, and volunteer.