Wyoming is now the first state to rely on Google computing services for its entire executive branch of government.
According to The Associated Press, the state will be using Google’s cloud computing tools which allow data and applications to be stored on remote servers and accessed over the Internet, including desk-to-desk video conferencing and live online collaboration while creating documents.
The system formally went online in Wyoming on Monday. It was unveiled to the public Wednesday as Gov. Matt Mead cut a red data cable with scissors.
"Wyoming likes to be first and that's a great message for us. This is kind of an early round in this technology and for a company like Google, we need the right partners to work with," said Dave Girouard, president of enterprise for Google, who flew to Cheyenne for the event.
Wyoming is expecting to save around $1 million a year due to the fact that it will not need to take care of some servers and will instead relyon secure remote servers operated by Google. There will also be no need for the state to figure out how to update platforms, because Google handles that.
All state agencies will be sharing a uniform email system with an employee directory for the first time.
Many cities like Los Angeles have started using Google Apps for Government in the last year. Federal agencies including the General Services Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have picked Google over government services from competitor Microsoft.
As of now Wyoming isn’t considered a high-tech state but that might change. Recently Mead plugged a $70 million National Center for Atmospheric Research supercomputing facility near Cheyenne as a project sure to draw more tech business after it becomes operational next year.
With Google Apps for Government Wyoming will be able to save through government efficiency. Though it may be hard to put it into actual figures, said Flint Waters, the state's chief technology officer.
"In man-hours saved, I'm sure that $1 million is very, very conservative," he said.
Wyoming has set aside $5 million for the change but Waters said he expects the state to come in under budget.
Governments are now turning over control over their data networks to Google. Is that a good thing? Sadly we won't know know unless something disastrous happens. Stay tuned.