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Jump to navigation Jump to search logo as of 2017.png
Type of site
Available inEnglish
Spanish at
Alexa rankPositive decrease 6,252 (April 2014)[1]
LaunchedSeptember 22, 2000; 18 years ago (2000-09-22)
Current statusOnline
Content license
Public domain is the official web portal of the United States federal government. It is designed to improve the public’s interaction with the U.S. government by quickly directing website visitors to the services or information they are seeking, and by inviting the public to share ideas to improve government. links to every federal agency and to state, local, and tribal governments, and is the most comprehensive site in—and about—the U.S. government. While the primary target audience of is the American public, about 25 percent of’s visitors come from outside the United States. is part of the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies in the General Services Administration (GSA), and includes the Spanish-language web portal to U.S. government services, (formerly The portals, which are funded by U.S. taxpayers and are offered as a public service, are a member of the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies' family of websites that also includes,, and (formerly

History[edit] began in 2000 when Internet entrepreneur Eric Brewer, whose early research in parallel computing was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, offered to donate a powerful search engine to the government. That donation helped accelerate the government’s earlier work to create a government-wide portal. In June 2000, President Clinton announced the gift from the Federal Search Foundation, a nonprofit organization co-founded by Brewer and fellow entrepreneur David Binetti, and instructed that the portal be launched in 90 days. was launched 87 days later on September 22, 2000, during the first-ever webcast originating from the White House Oval Office. GSA and 22 Federal agencies funded the initiative in 2001 and 2002. Since 2002, has received an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress.

The name was changed in 2007 to,[2] in response to user suggestions and telephone surveys.

On July 2, 2010, revamped the website to improve user access to citizen services through new mobile applications for on-the-go instant access; public engagement platforms; and the fastest, most comprehensive search function for government information.

Structure[edit] helps visitors find federal information in several ways, detailed below. Additionally, invites the public to share feedback on apps they would find useful by using government information available on and,[3] and to share ideas to improve government through public dialogues and government contests.[4]

E-mail alerts[edit]

Visitors to can sign up for free e-mail alerts in both English and Spanish, to learn when new content is added to the site’s most popular pages. The pages' subjects range from benefits, seniors, and Internet fraud to hurricane recovery, the arts, and parents.[5]

Frequently Asked Questions database[edit]'s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) database contains thousands of answers to the questions the public asks most via or the contact center at 1 (800) FED-INFO. For more than 30 years, the contact center has been a source for answers to questions about consumer problems and government services.

If visitors still cannot find the government information they are looking for, they can call 1 (800) FED-INFO, e-mail through the "Contact Us" link on (e-mail inquiries receive a response within two business days), or get help through a live web chat service.[6]

Index[edit] offers an index of more than 10,000 links to official government information. The index is categorized by services and common topics, and can be accessed through five audience gateways: Businesses and Nonprofits, Citizens, Federal Employees, Government to Government (for state, local, and tribal governments), and Visitors to the U.S.

The index links to diverse, useful, and timely citizen-centered government information and services that can help website visitors apply for a government job, register to vote, e-file their taxes, find government benefits, reserve a campsite at a national park, prepare for disasters, shop at government auctions, learn about visiting the United States, or report an unsafe product, among many other activities.

The site's policy is to link to websites of the federal government, quasi-government agencies, and those created by public sector/private sector partnerships; state and local governments; and recognized Indian tribes. In rare instances, the sites link to websites that are not government-owned or government-sponsored if these websites provide government information and/or services in a way that is not available on an official government website.[7]

Live chat[edit] offers live chat in English, where service representatives can answer website visitors' questions about federal agencies, programs, benefits, or services.

Mobile applications[edit]

The mobile apps gallery features:

Performance dashboards[edit]'s performance dashboards allow the public to take a closer look into the details of government performance by tracking tax dollars, proposed agency rules, federal information technology investments, Medicare fraud prevention efforts, and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funds.[8]

RSS feeds[edit] offers RSS feeds to help the public stay up to date on useful government information. " Updates: News and Features" announces the new content added to the website, while "RSS de News and Updates" announces the new content added to the website. "Popular Government Questions from" features the most popular questions and answers related to the U.S. government from's frequently asked questions database. Website visitors can sign up for RSS feeds,[9] the feed[10] or visit's RSS library[9][11] for other government RSS feeds.[edit]'s search engine supports transparency of government information by providing access to government web pages from U.S. federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments. Search engine results are provided by Bing but managed technically and editorially in-house. The portal features state-of-the-art navigation aids and high-interest, agency-produced databases such as frequently asked questions,[6] government forms,[12] recalls,[13] and government images.[14] is also available on its mobile service.[15] In addition, any U.S. government agency can apply through the USA Services Affiliate Program[16] to install the search capability on its own pages, thus allowing agencies at all levels to provide website searching for their own users.[17]

Social Media[edit] uses Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and YouTube to distribute timely official U.S. government information and emergency information, announce official government events and observances, share official government photos and videos, and gather feedback from the public.[18]

URL shortening[edit]

A URL shortening service,, is available to users that have a .gov email address (only .gov URLs may be submitted for shortening through this service). The service will generate a random following which redirects the user to the longer .gov URL stored in the system.[edit]


A part of, pulls together all of the U.S. government’s Spanish-language websites and makes them easily accessible to the public in one central location. The site, which was developed by Spanish speakers, represents an outreach effort to some 43 million Americans who report speaking Spanish at home. features more than 900 external links and provides access to more than 125,000 Government pages in Spanish. Although most of the resources are federal, the site also links to Spanish-language content provided by 42 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and local government websites.

Web visitors also can search all federal and state web pages for Spanish content through the site’s search engine, e-mail their questions and receive responses in Spanish, or call 1 (800) FED-INFO for help in Spanish and English. Spanish-speaking visitors can sign up for e-mail alerts in Spanish to let them know when new content is added to The website also offers information on the same topic in both English and Spanish by simply clicking on a toggle button.

Web best practices[edit] actively promotes best practices within the government web manager community to improve the overall quality of U.S. federal websites as well as public access to government information.

Federal Web Managers Council[edit]

Interagency Committee on Government Information[edit] has a leadership role on the Interagency Committee on Government Information[19] (ICGI), formed to meet requirements of the E-Government Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-347, 44 U.S.C. Ch 36). The ICGI drafts recommendations and shares effective practices for federal government information access, dissemination, and retention.

Crisis response initiatives[edit] is a critical destination for information during national disasters. After the September 11, 2001, attack on the United States, became a major tool for the U.S. government to provide the most accurate, timely, and comprehensive information, resources, and government services available during that crisis.[citation needed]

Several years later, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, participated in efforts led by the Department of Homeland Security and worked with over 20 federal agencies to develop guidance to communicate response information related to the storm and its aftermath. Agencies were encouraged to coordinate web information to avoid duplication and inconsistencies so the public could quickly and easily find critical information.[20]

Categories identified during Katrina matched information people would be looking for in "any" disaster, whether natural or man-made. The federal web community can now re-use a good deal of the content developed in response to the hurricane crisis, to enable them to be even better prepared when the next disaster occurs.

Model to other government websites[edit] serves as a model for other government websites and adheres to all requirements and guidelines for federal websites, including those established by the E-Government Act of 2002, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Policies for Federal Public Websites, and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 regarding website accessibility. The site also follows requirements of the Privacy Act, the Federal Information Security Management Act, and other privacy and security requirements.

Awards[edit] has won numerous awards and media endorsements, including: was named a finalist for the Arroba de oro, ("the golden @"),[citation needed] has won the Web Content Managers' "Best Practices" award,[citation needed] and consistently scores among the highest in government or private sectors in the American Customer Satisfaction Index.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

Federal government of the United States


USA government


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  2. ^ " is Now". 2014-07-17. Archived from the original on 2014-08-12. Retrieved 2014-08-01.
  3. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-08-01.
  4. ^ "Contests and Challenges". 2014-07-17. Archived from the original on 2014-08-12. Retrieved 2014-08-01.
  5. ^ "E-mail Updates". Archived from the original on 2013-01-14. Retrieved 2014-08-01.
  6. ^ a b "". Archived from the original on 2014-07-21. Retrieved 2014-08-01.
  7. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-08-01.
  8. ^ "Performance Dashboards". 2014-07-17. Archived from the original on 2014-07-07. Retrieved 2014-08-01.
  9. ^ a b "RSS Feeds from". 2014-07-24. Archived from the original on 2014-07-30. Retrieved 2014-08-01.
  10. ^ "RSS de |". Retrieved 2014-08-01.
  11. ^ "U.S. Government RSS Directory". 2014-07-17. Archived from the original on 2011-11-29. Retrieved 2014-08-01.
  12. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-08-01.
  13. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-08-01.
  14. ^[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ " The U.S. Government's Official Web Portal". Retrieved 2014-08-01.
  16. ^ "DigitalGov Search Login".
  17. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2010-03-08. Retrieved 2014-08-01.
  18. ^ "Social Media - Government & You | Connect Now". 2014-07-17. Archived from the original on 2012-04-14. Retrieved 2014-08-01.
  19. ^ Archived from the original on June 13, 2006. Retrieved July 17, 2006. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ "is moving to". Archived from the original on 2012-08-10. Retrieved 2014-08-01.

External links[edit]