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Government launches new apps

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Smartphone addicts rejoice: Are you counting calories? Concerned about unsafe toys? Worried about tan lines or airport security lines? There's a (government) app for that.

The Obama administration unveiled four new apps on Friday allowing tech-savvy Americans to track nutritional information for more than 1,000 foods, wait times at airport security checkpoints, UV Index and air quality ratings and updates on product and food recalls.

TSA App
Image courtesy of USA.gov

The rollout is all part of a redesigned USA.gov the federal government's online home for services and information.

Agencies have already developed apps to track the FBI's Ten Most Wanted, a U.S. Embassy locator and ways to find military grave sites. Access all of the new apps at Apps.USA.gov.

The big redesign "was focused on how the average American consumes information and not how the average government employee makes information available," said White House Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra.

Though the government has more than 24,000 Web sites (yes, you read that right), Kundra said the government is working hard on getting the information to mobile devices.

“That’s how the American people are accessing their government and accessing their personal life, whether you’re making a reservation on OpenTable or checking the status of a package, it’s happening in that space," Kundra said.

What other apps should the government develop (or have YOU developed with government data)? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Cabinet and Staff News: The White house divulges salary information. Inside that Biden-Petraeus dinner. An Army veteran accuses Elena Kagan of "segregation" while she reminds lawmakers: Legislation is your job. Meet the White House florist. AP sources say Chelsea Clinton to marry July 31 in Rhinebeck, N.Y. An ex-spy wants to defeat Chuck Schumer. Kathleen Sebelius & Co. earn an "A for effort" on selling the beginnings of the health-care overhaul.

CIA:
Skunk Baxter, Dan Aykroyd to headline CIA charity benefit: They'll appear at a July 8 charity dinner for the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
PHOTOS: Induction Day at Naval Academy: Check them out here.

FDA:
Officials worry about consumers lost among the recalls: "It's a real issue," said Jeff Farrar, associate commissioner for food protection, who said even his wife has complained about the difficulty of keeping pace with recalls.

FEMA:
Congressman seeks inquiry on trailers: Bennie Thompson (D) wants the Justice Department to investigate the use of potentially contaminated FEMA trailers to house cleanup workers involved with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

GOVERNMENT WORK/LIFE/OPERATIONS:
Flags down, then up, then down again for Sen. Robert Byrd: Want a good piece of trivia to offer up alongside the burgers at your July 4th barbeque? Read on.

House approves $7 billion budget cut: Democrats approved the cuts from President Barack Obama's budget request for foreign aid and the operating budgets for Cabinet agencies.

More airlines, destinations on tap for 2011 under City Pairs: Employees will be able to book flights to 4,299 domestic destinations and 1,423 international locations.

IRS:
Change in IRS rules could block rewards for whistleblowers: Congress has called on the agency to pay rewards to whistleblowers on the theory that they may be the agency's best hope for penetrating tax-evasion schemes, but a recent change in an IRS manual could in certain cases block those rewards.

Blagojevich and wife spent lavishly on clothes: Blagojevich and his wife spent more than $400,000 on clothes, mainly for themselves and not their children, an agent said Thursday.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT:
Obama calls for comprehensive immigration bill at American University: But he didn't outline any details for immigration reform or set a timetable for dealing with a reform bill during the half-hour speech.

NASA:
NASA delays end of shuttle program until next year: A delay in the processing of spare parts bound for the International Space Station, plus conflict with other Florida launches, will move the last shuttle flight to February.

NLRB:
Labor board to reopen 96 cases: The agency that resolves disputes between labor and management says it will reopen 96 of nearly 600 cases a recent Supreme Court ruling called into question.

SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION:
Zoo may seek to swap one or both pandas in hopes of breeding a cub: National Zoo officials believe its chronic panda reproduction problems might have something to do with its female giant panda, Mei Xiang.

TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT:
George Austin Hay says goodbye after 55 years of federal service and acting gigs: He's a multimedia specialist, the department's unofficial historian, a wealth of knowledge on the nation's highways.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | July 2, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Eye Opener  
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