The U.S. government is getting into the mobile app business, and consumers should take notice.
Earlier this week, the government released 17 smartphone applications on USA.gov, which cover everything from the FBI’s Most Wanted list to travel information from the Transportation Security Administration to a list of gas stations serving alternative fuel provided by the Department of Energy. A couple of the apps were available previously, including a White House app featuring news and videos about the current administration and my personal favorite, a NASA app, which lets you follow mission updates.
Each of these apps is free and the majority are compatible with the iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones.
Of these new apps, the one which may end up being the most useful to consumers is the Product Recalls app. This tool aggregates recall information from government agencies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Food and Drug Administration so you get a comprehensive tool when shopping.
“Whether you’re at your child’s day care center or a yard sale, whether you’re at a store or at home, you can now type a product’s name into your phone and learn immediately whether that product has been recalled because of a safety concern,” according to USA.gov. “You can also see photos of recalled products and learn what to do with recalled products in your homes.”
The government just got a little bit cooler, although I’m crossing my fingers that one day they’ll turn this app into a game like Plants vs. Zombies where you have to fight to keep the recalled items from entering your home. Maybe that’s too much to ask.