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Gov 2.0 Roundup (March 19 Edition)

GSA approves Google Analytics, the FCC wants you to test your broadband speed, SXSW takes social media to the moon, and Virginia’s Department of Taxation gets a win with online chat, all in this week’s edition of the Rock Creek Roundup.

–Looking for a cost-effective yet robust solution to track your agency’s website statistics, giving you the ability to identify referring sites and pinpoint which of your online initiatives is having the biggest impact? Thanks to the hard work of GSA, you now have the option to use one of the most popular free web analytics applications on the market, Google Analytics. Earlier this week, it was announced that GSA had approved Google Analytics as an application suitable for use by federal government agencies. The free analytics program is now listed on apps.gov, GSA’s website that lists approved applications. Having worked with Google Analytics for a number of years ourselves, we are excited that the application has been approved for government use. I look forward to seeing how good government websites will become even better with the benefit of a strong web analytics package providing insightful information.

–Is the high speed Internet connection at your home delivering on its promises of speed and power, or is it falling short? The federal government wants to help you find out. As part of the larger National Broadband Plan, the FCC has provided several tools to help consumers measure the speed of their existing broadband connection or report that they’re in a broadband dead zone and don’t have access to broadband services. The consumer tools are in place to help the agency reach its goal of the U.S. leading the world in “mobile innovation, with the fastest and most extensive wireless networks of any nation.“

–Attendees at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive Festival got to see firsthand just how far social media has traveled. In the presentation “Moon 2.0: The Outer Limits of Lunar Exploration,” panelists from NASA and space-related private companies talked about space exploration as a social experience. Topics included astronauts live tweeting their experience from outer space, giving a much more personal feel to the space program, and podcasts covering space exploration as a way to get people more interested in and excited about space. All of the panelists underscored the power of web and mobile technologies to encourage further space exploration.

–If you could reduce your agency’s web-related calls by 70% just by installing one $1,000 device, would you do it? That’s exactly what the Virginia Department of Taxation did. By adding an online chat instant messaging component to their website, department representatives are now able to handle more customers simultaneously, increasing employee productivity and customer satisfaction. The online chat service currently receives 500-600 chat requests per day even though it’s not advertised anywhere other than the tax website itself, but department officials expect the number to grow exponentially once they upgrade their chat software and launch a planned advertising campaign. I don’t know about you, but I like having an online chat function instead of being forced to pick up the phone and wait on hold for a while—I’d like to see other agencies learning from Virginia’s success and adopting similar technology on their own sites.

This item is cross-posted on the Rock Creek Strategic Marketing blog.

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Pretty cool about the chat. I see that on a ton of commercial sites and I love it. Would much rather chat than call my bank for example.