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US government opens portal for public’s ideas for apps, but why does it require a Google ID for submission?

Anyone who’s stood in line at the DMV or a courthouse will likely not think much of the government’s technical prowess. So it may come as a surprise that the federal government has developed and released over 50 apps and mobile websites that anyone can use for free.

There are apps for finding out how long the line is at the airport, for searching government jobs, for getting nutrition information and for even seeing what product recalls, like toys or cars, have occurred.

Now Uncle Sam wants you to submit app ideas. The federal government’s blog (yes, they have one of those too) announced today that it is looking for people to write in with app ideas that would make their lives easier, facilitate better information from the government or any facet of their day to day lives.

The new site, managed by Google Moderator, allows submissions on which people then vote as good or bad suggestions.

The curious piece of the process is that to vote on the ideas, you have to have a Google ID. Why should you have to have a Google ID to vote on public ideas?

At first pass, this appears like a fairly nice present to Google from the federal government: you supply the platform for moderation (which was already built) and we’ll supply you with tons of new users.

Also, it is unclear how Google will access these submissions and votes. The expansive range of feedback and ideas would be welcome information for any new products that Google is considering.

Eric Schmidt, Google’s former CEO, sits on Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

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