To say that Alpha.gov.uk is a bold attempt by the present UK government to innovate online would be an understatement.
The site introduces a number of revolutionary ideas that haven't been seen on ordinary or traditional government websites. The very fact that we're witnessing live the birth of what is essentially a pre-beta version of a major public website is gob smacking in itself, and gives people access to unprecedented details to a service, which ironically, we all pay for via our taxes.
We liked the no-frills approach which includes having a search engine at the centre of the homepage as well as a number of popular tools and topics easily accessible, with the latest news from the government pushed completely at the bottom of the page.
Whilst there are some terms and conditions attached to its use, we found it to be pretty stable and extremely user friendly, a real feat given that it was built by a small team from the Cabinet Office in less than 100 days (their blog is here).
Alpha.gov.uk has already attracted some positive feedback from the private sector. Trenton Moss, Director of web consultancy firm, Webcredible, said "Alpha.gov is a breath of fresh air and should become the hub of everything government – kind of like the Google for government."
The project team went as far as enrolling GetSatisfaction, the popular community-powered platform, to provide feedback on their work in a short amount of time, they've received more than 300 feedback posts from hundreds of people with loads of ideas and common problems encountered.
We have yet to find out when the Beta version as well as the release candidate will be rolled out as the team behind the project hasn't published any schedules.