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9/29/2008
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Glide America Mixes Politics With Social Networking

The service also offers what it's calling the People's Rolodex, a list of federal government contacts that users can add to their existing online contacts.

With the stock market reeling and just over a month until the presidential election, TransMedia chairman and CEO Donald Leka wants to help U.S. voters communicate more effectively with government officials.

"Our institutions of government are precariously faltering in their ability to serve the best interests of the American people," Leka said in an e-mail. "The American people must reassert themselves in the governance of this great nation and Glide America is a vehicle to that end."

Glide America, which launches on Tuesday, is a nonprofit offshoot of TransMedia's Glide, a cross-platform, cross-device online storage and application service. It combines Glide's free storage and social application suite -- word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, photo editing, and collaborative communication services -- with data and services to promote government transparency and accountability.

Glide America provides users with a statistical analysis of response times of government officials contacted through Glide system e-mail messages and other forms of communication. The idea is to provide a snapshot of government responsiveness.

The service also offers what it's calling the People's Rolodex, a list of federal government contacts that users can add to their existing online contacts.

Glide America plans to publish monthly reports on how quickly government personnel respond to queries from Glide America users and to include a citizen satisfaction rating. "We generate a PDF report each month which will be made available to the media with all the relevant statistical data," said Leka. "We also will feature the data on the Glide America Web site."

Leka said the Glide America portal -- a collection of news site links -- will be populated with an extensive list of government sites. And he said there also will be automated desktop and e-mail notifications about new legislation that will include links to related Glide America discussions and government representatives.

Leka's hope is to turn online discussions into something more than shouting into the void.

Glide America includes 10 GB of free online storage and provides free synchronization software to replicate online documents on local machines, whether they run Mac OS X, Linux, or Windows. Glide is also accessible through a variety of mobile devices. It also includes a basic rights management system for secure collaboration and document management.

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