By providing free consulting and some software, Google Inc. is helping state governments make reams of public records that are now unavailable or hard to find online easily accessible to Web surfers. The Internet search company hopes to eventually persuade federal agencies to employ the same tools -- an effort that excites advocates of open government but worries some consumer privacy experts.
Google announced today that it has already partnered with four states -- Arizona, California, Utah and Virginia -- to remove technical barriers that had prevented its search engine, as well as those of Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc., from accessing tens of thousands of public records dealing with education, real estate, health care and the environment.
These newly available records will not be exclusive to the search engines owned by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, but available to other companies and the general public.
I cannot find any mention of historic records in today's announcement, however.
You can read more at Business Week at http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8OR04400.htm.