Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Promoting civic innovation through technology
Cross-posted from the Google.org blog
The Internet is redefining citizenship in the 21st century. Technology is helping people to connect, engage, and contribute to society and each other like never before.
We’ve seen developers use our Civic Information API to bring election data to citizens in new and exciting ways. Our live election results maps have been viewed by billions around the world, bringing real-time transparency to elections in Egypt, Mexico, Ghana, and more. Last week, we launched the Kenya Elections Hub for citizens to access the latest news and resources for the country’s presidential election.
Beyond elections, technology can improve everyday civic life: the way we connect, engage, access and act on critical government information. Worldwide, organizations are developing new ways to encourage more open and innovative societies. Google.org is supporting two of these leaders--the Sunlight Foundation and mySociety--and their work on tech solutions for civic innovation.
We are providing $2.1 million to the Sunlight Foundation to grow their programs for open government data, with a focus on making civic information for U.S. cities transparent, available, and useable. By opening up information at the city level for developers as well as citizens, Sunlight is creating opportunity for new ideas that can have an impact in local markets.
We are also supporting mySociety, providing $1.6 million to build a global platform to equip developers with tools and resources--such as open source code--to more easily and quickly launch new civic apps and services. This initiative can promote collaboration between civic-minded technologists, regardless of geography. For example, a civic app created in Finland might be easily replicated 9,000 miles away by a developer in Chile.
Both organizations are working to bring together a larger community--governments, developers, companies, nonprofits, and citizens--with an interest in improving societies. By creating these open platforms today, we can open doors to ambitious new solutions in the future.