Office of the State Chief Information Officer

State Technology Update - September 1, 2009

California Wins Second in 'Best of the Web' National Competition for State Governments

The State of California has won second place in the national "Best of the Web" competition held by the Center for Digital Government. The competition recognizes significant achievement in the overall web presence of state and local governments. California placed third in this competition last year and did not rank in past years.

"I am committed to making government more accessible and responsive by having the best possible online presence - Californians expect nothing less," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "I would like to congratulate all of the hard working Webmasters and IT professionals for pushing our website toward the top of the list. This recognition is great news for the many people who want to access services, information and connect with their state government."

"This award recognizes our progress in transforming the way we deliver state services to Californians - the central focus of Governor Schwarzenegger's agenda to rebuild California's technology infrastructure," said Teri Takai, the State Chief Information Officer. "By leveraging our technology assets, we have a tremendous opportunity to greatly improve government operations and save our precious resources, including taxpayer funding."

Best of the Web ranks the top U.S. state and local Web portals, recognizing advances in digital solutions and communication with citizens, government communities and business. The awards are judged by a panel of experts on a wide range of categories, including site accessibility, innovation, cost-savings, ease of use, and exceptional service to public.

Earlier this year, the State launched a newly redesigned Web portal, CA.gov, with an improved, interactive design linking to new features, including widgets, social networking Web sites and news and information provided by state agencies, departments, boards and commissions and more. The CA.gov portal provides access to more than 4 million pages of information, services, and on-line transactions from 155 state agency Web sites. Some features that can be found through the portal include:

  • More than 1000 live highway traffic camera feeds,
  • More than 700 online services, ranging from professional licensing to applications for benefits and more,
  • More than 540 government-sponsored YouTube videos,
  • N11 directory services for traffic, traveler, repair, community, health, disaster, emergency and other local information,
  • A live help operator available to chat Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time,
  • 10 major state photo galleries with tens of thousands of photos,
  • More than 100 state social networking websites,
  • 24 state agencies with various RSS feeds; and
  • 51 state agency email alert subscriptions.

On July 9, 2009, the State of California launched a new iPhone application hosted on the CA.gov portal which helps citizens and businesses find and contact government offices on their iPhones. To increase the availability of information and services for Californians on-the-go, the new application provides a directory to selected California government offices and service centers. It can be downloaded at the Apple iTunes Store, or by visiting the www.mobile.ca.gov website.

Also in July, the State launched an online data repository on the California State Portal that posts state government data in raw, machine-readable formats, so it can be reused in different ways. The site allows the public greater access to build custom applications to analyze and display the information. The data includes information on the economy, public health, transportation, environment and more on a single website.

Governor Schwarzenegger has made it a priority to publish information on the Internet to improve services for Californians and increase government transparency and accountability including:

  • In August, he launched www.MyIdea4CA.com, a Web site for Twitter users to share their ideas for moving California forward. The Twitter forum is an extension of a conversation that began in June 2009 when the Governor asked the public for new ideas on the state budget.
  • On June 10, he launched a new feature called "Waste Watchers" on his Web site at www.gov.ca.gov and his Reporting Transparency site. The Waste Watchers site allows state employees and other Californians to go online and report any government waste they may be aware of, either anonymously or by name.
  • On June 4, he signed Executive Order S-08-09 and launched a new component to the Web site requiring all state contracts valued at $5,000 or more to be posted online. It also lists both the internal and external audits of state departments and agencies, including information on operations, budget and programs, dating back to January 1, 2008.
  • In April, he launched the Reporting Transparency in Government Web site to make publicly available the statement of economic interests, Form 700s and the travel expense claims for the Governor's office senior staff and deputies, agency secretaries, agency undersecretaries and department directors.
  • In March, the Web site, Recovery.ca.gov was also launched by the Governor earlier this year as a one-stop site to track how Recovery Act funding is coming into and being used in California.
  • Last year, the Governor launched California School Finder which allows parents to easily find and compare schools side-by-side on data such as graduation rates and Academic Performance Index (API) scores, as well as information on student support services and advanced placement courses, in a one-stop easy-to-navigate Web site.

The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. For more than a decade, the Center has used the annual Best of the Web competition to recognize and celebrate state web portals that provide innovative solutions by communicating well with constituents and businesses.

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