YouTube Launches U.S. Government Portal

The channel aggregates videos from the White House, CDC, NASA, and other federal agencies using a player that complies with government privacy regulations.
In March, Google issued a statement on its public policy blog refuting a report that the White House had abandoned YouTube over privacy concerns.

"We want to assure all visitors to federal Web sites that we're aware of this issue and have taken steps that meet the government's privacy requirements," said Steve Grove, head of news and politics at YouTube.

One of the steps that YouTube took was creating a government version of its embeddable video player that does not deposit a cookie on the viewer's computer until the video play button has been clicked.

With the launch Thursday of a U.S. government portal on YouTube, federal confidence in Google's video community appears to be stronger than ever.

Grove characterizes the government's interest in YouTube as more than a source of publicity. Federal officials and civil servants, he insists, want to hear from the people who put them into office.

"So leave your comments, rankings, and ideas for these agencies on any of their videos to ensure that your voice is heard on the issues you care about," he urges in a blog post. "Reach out to your local government as well and encourage local officials to start posting footage to YouTube. By exposing everything from committee hearings to planning meetings, we can make our civic lives more open than ever before."

The U.S. Government channel aggregates other government agency channels on YouTube, such as the White House channel, the Centers for Disease Control channel, and the NASA channel. It also includes playlists that feature a selection of videos on specific themes, such as benefits and grants, defense and international, and health and nutrition.

Grove argues that bringing the government into the YouTube community will "help us hold public servants accountable for the jobs we've hired them to do." It may also make public servants more beholden to Google, a state of dependence that could quell calls to regulate the company's growing dominance.

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