I hope other developing governments follow Iraq’s lead in using the Internet to connect with international investors, nongovernmental organizations, and most importantly, citizens living in-country or abroad. As Hunter Walk, Google's Director of Product Management, wrote on The Official Google Blog regarding Iraq's initiative, "We hope that by launching on YouTube, the Iraqi Government and their citizens will also find it easy to use YouTube to engage in such conversations, and bring their proceedings, policies and ideas to a larger audience around the world." One criticism I have regarding the Iraqigov Channel is the inability to post comments by YouTube viewers. Here is a video message from Eric Schmidt, Google's Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, about Iraq's YouTube initiative:
There is another initiative that is worth discussing regarding Google and Iraq. According to a Embassy of the United States in Iraq press release, "The CEO and Chairman of Google Inc., Eric Schmidt, and members of the Iraq Technology Task Force announced...in Baghdad a project to create a virtual tour of the Iraq National Museum using state of the art Google technology. The project, the first of its kind at any museum, will digitize and electronically catalogue artifacts at the Iraq National Museum, allowing global access to the collection. It is part of an ongoing commitment by U.S. institutions to partner with Iraqis under the Strategic Framework Agreement to help support and showcase Iraq's rich cultural heritage and history."
The press release further says Mr. Schmidt "is the first CEO of one of the world's leading technology companies to visit Iraq; the trip marks Google’s third visit to Iraq to collaborate on U.S. Government-led technology initiatives. This public-private partnership fosters U.S.-Iraq cultural diplomacy and exemplifies twenty-first century statecraft—the U.S. government serving as a convener, and facilitator of initiatives and programs that are driven by the Iraqi people in partnership with private companies. This is the first private-sector delegation to meet with the recently established Iraq Technology Task Force (ITTF), which is a multi-stakeholder body created by Iraqis to build the country’s IT capacity. The delegation's visit demonstrates how public private partnerships are about more than contributing traditional resources, they are also about leveraging expertise itself."
Aaron Rose is a board member, corporate advisor, and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of GT Perspectives, an online forum focused on turning perspective into opportunity.