"A lot of state agencies view their Web sites as billboards as opposed to dynamic means of two-way communications
between governments and their citizens," said Darrell West, a professor of political science at Brown University. "The problem is that there are some parts of government sites that search engines
can't reach." There was no financial transaction involved in the deal, which was a barter between Google and the state governments to supply information that had not been accessible on the Web. "The
reality is that much information on state Web sites is public, but effectively, it's not, because it's hard to find," said J.L. Needham, Google's product manager for public sector
It's a little ironic that Utah is one of the partners, considering the state recently ruled that Google had no right to allow competitors to bid on trademarks they do not own. Google said the decision belied an understanding of how search marketing works, and most lawyers feel the case would not hold up in federal court.