Obama Orders Agencies to Optimize Web Content for Mobile

U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered all major government agencies to make two key services available on mobile phones within a year, in an effort to embrace a growing trend toward Web surfing on mobile devices.

Obama, in a directive issued Wednesday, also ordered federal agencies to create websites to report on their mobile progress. The websites are due within 90 days.

Innovators in the private sector and the government have used the Internet and powerful computers to improve customer service, but "it is time for the federal government to do more," Obama said in the memo. "For far too long, the American people have been forced to navigate a labyrinth of information across different government programs in order to find the services they need."

Many government services are not optimized for smartphones or tablets, and other services aren't available at all on those devices, Obama wrote.

"Americans deserve a government that works for them anytime, anywhere, and on any device," Obama said in a statement. "By making important services accessible from your phone and sharing government data with entrepreneurs, we are giving hard-working families and businesses tools that will help them succeed."

By 2015, more U.S. residents are likely to access the Internet through mobile phones than through desktop computers, the Obama administration said in a press release. Obama has asked U.S. Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel to head up efforts to create a comprehensive mobile road map.

In addition, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park on Wednesday announced the new Presidential Innovation Fellows program, which will bring top innovators from outside government to Washington, D.C., to work with federal employees on new technology projects. Among the projects the program will focus on are open data initiatives and personal health records.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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