September 5th, 2012 11:13 AM
WASHINGTON—The White House rolled out upgraded “apps” to stay in tune with smartphone and tablet lovers as the Democratic National Convention got under way on Tuesday.
Improved applications for mobile gadgets powered by Apple or Android software were synched with a WhiteHouse.gov overhaul to make the website more conducive to visits from people using smartphones or tablets.
“We’re excited to announce some big changes to the way you connect with the White House,” Peter Welsch said in a WhiteHouse.gov blog post.
“We’ve re-launched the entire White House mobile program, making it even easier to see what’s going on at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”
Visits to WhiteHouse.gov from mobile devices have tripled in the past two years, reaching 15.17 percent of overall traffic to the website, according to Welsch, deputy director of online platforms for the Office of Digital Strategy.
Mobile application features include live video streams of White House events and notifications of breaking news.
The release of the free smartphone and tablet mini-programs came as organizers of the official campaign to re-elect President Barack Obama announced a CommitToVote application tailored for Facebook users.
Members of the leading social network can use the application to make online vows to vote and then remind friends to do the same, according to a Twitter message from @BarackObama, an account run by the president’s campaign staff.
Obama ran the most technology-savvy US political campaign in history four years ago, leveraging social networks, email, text messages and other media to build a vast volunteer and fundraising operation.
During his 2008 campaign, Obama relied heavily on the Internet to power his bid for office, and he is expected to do so again in the coming months.
The White House is an active user of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, Foursquare and other services.
Early this year, while announcing an initiative to make key government services accessible using smartphones or tablets, Obama said “Americans deserve a government that works for them anytime, anywhere, and on any device.”