Firstgov to Offer Immediate Entry to Feds

Firstgov to Offer Immediate Entry to Feds<CR>

By Nick Wakeman, Staff Writer

JUNE 26 ? The federal government is preparing to launch a Web site that President Clinton promises will be able to deliver 500-million-page Web searches in a quarter second. The site, to be unveiled in three months, will be called

Eventually, the site will become a portal for doing business with the government, including offering the ability to search for contract and procurement opportunities governmentwide. The federal government currently has 20,000 Web pages and firstgov will be able to search all of them, government officials said.

Clinton announced the initiative in a Webcast June 24.

Firstgov is an outgrowth of the General Services Administration's Webgov project. In his Webcast, which government officials said was his first, Clinton said the site will provide a single entry point to one of the largest and most useful collection of Web pages in the entire world.

"Whether you want crucial information in starting a small business or you want to track your Social Security benefits, you can do it all in one place, 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Clinton said.

Internet entrepreneur Eric Brewer, who specializes in search engines, is developing the site for free. Brewer's technology will allow for full-text searches of most government Web pages.

In addition to providing access to procurement opportunities, the Web site also will be a vehicle for individuals, companies and others looking to apply for government grants. There also will be contest for best government Web idea with a $50,000 prize for the winning entry.

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