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GSA Announces USA.gov

          Government Made Easy

GSA #10312

January 18, 2007
Contact: Viki Reath (202) 501-1231
viki.reath@gsa.gov

Washington, DC – U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Administrator Lurita A. Doan renamed the official Web portal of the U.S. government Thursday, pledging that “USA.gov” will build on FirstGov.gov’s remarkable success in simplifying citizen access to government information and services.

“Look under the hood and you’ll see that this is far more than an update of last year’s model,” Doan said. “There’s more horsepower in the search engine, we’ve added live chat capability, and more upgrades are coming. But we also want more traffic. USA.gov is a name everyone can remember.”

Administered by GSA, USA.gov provides trustworthy, convenient and user-friendly government resources and services.  Users can quickly find information on taxes, passports, federal benefits and countless other topics from multiple federal, state, local, territorial and tribal government sources. 

USA.gov is one of President Bush’s Electronic Government (E-Gov) initiatives—part of an extensive plan established in 2002 to help federal government agencies work together to focus on serving citizens and businesses more efficiently and cost-effectively by making their information and services easily accessible online.

“At the conclusion of 2006 we celebrated the fourth anniversary of the E-Gov Act.  I want to congratulate the agencies on their accomplishments they've achieved through President Bush’s E-Gov Initiatives.  The USA.gov launch is another critical step forward in improving citizen access to government information,” said Karen Evans, Administrator of Electronic Government and Information Technology at the Office of Management and Budget.  “The E-Gov initiatives were designed to better serve our citizens by providing them a user-friendly experience when accessing information and available services offered by the federal government.  USA.gov is an invaluable resource, including for teachers looking for educational materials to use in their classrooms, individuals searching for job opportunities in the federal workforce, small and minority-owned businesses pursuing federal contracting opportunities, and military personnel and veterans seeking benefits eligibility requirements.”

Over the past year, feedback from users indicated a need for a name that was easier to understand and remember. Last year more than 600,000 people typed in “usa.gov” when searching for government information. And in a 2006 telephone survey, 79 percent of respondents preferred the name USA.gov. Spanish speakers also responded positively to GobiernoUSA.gov as the new name for the Spanish-language portal, a name that gives assurance that the user is on a government site.

To enhance its powerful search technology, USA.gov recently added new features that provide faster, easier access to more resources and services.  USA.gov now connects users to the latest news items and images from government sources that can’t be found easily on commercial search engines.  Whether it’s photographs taken on Mars or the

latest news from the National Institutes of Health, USA.gov has it all in one easy-to-navigate place. 

In response to worldwide interest in the site, USA.gov also now features a new section for those outside the country who want to learn about the United States.

“We’ve been seeing a growing number of people who come to USA.gov to get information about the United States before visiting, studying in, or doing business with our country,” said Martha Dorris, Deputy Associate Administrator of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Communications. “When that number reached 25 percent of our traffic, we knew it was time for a special gateway devoted to these visitors. “The new ‘Visitors to the U.S.’ gateway gives USA.gov an opportunity to increase its global presence and to provide individuals and businesses with easily accessible links to relevant and useful topics.”

And because GSA is dedicated to responding as quickly as possible to citizens’ requests for information and help, USA.gov now features “Online Personal Assistance.” In addition to calling toll-free 1 (800) FED-INFO or sending an e-mail, people can now chat live online with a representative to get answers to their government-related questions Monday through Friday, noon to 8 p.m. EST.

“Adding these new features and renaming USA.gov as the government’s official portal will bring citizens and government even closer, said Administrator Doan. “It’s part of GSA’s continuous effort to improve the way people receive the information and resources they need from the government. And we hope the public will keep coming back, because GSA will continue to add new services and make USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov even better in the future.” 

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Founded in 1949, GSA serves as a centralized procurement and property management agency for the federal government.  GSA manages more than one-fourth of the government’s total procurement dollars and influences the management of $500 billion in federal assets, including 8,300 government-owned or leased buildings and 170,000 vehicles.  GSA helps preserve our past and define our future, acting as a steward of more than 420 historic properties, and as manager of USA.gov, the official portal to federal government information and services. GSA’s mission to provide superior workplaces, expert technology solutions, acquisition services, purchasing and e-travel solutions and management policies, at best value, allows federal agencies to focus on their core missions

Did you know?  USA.gov received more than 84 million visits during the past year.