When Americans interact with their government online, it’s usually for taxes or to check the weather.
The IRS might be one of America’s least popular agencies, but its website is far and away the government’s most popular website, with 15.6 million visits over the last week.
Second to the IRS is the government’s weather forecasting site, which raked in slightly more than 12.4 million visits over the last week.
Those two websites are visited more than the next four government sites combined, according to new analytics data released by the government for the first time on Thursday. The statistics come from a unified Google Analytics account that agencies use to track who is using their services.
“For the first time, you can see how many people are using a federal government website, which pages are most popular, and which devices, browsers, and operating systems people are using,” government officials wrote in a White House blog post.
The data paint a revealing portrait of what people are searching for online as well as how they get there.
For instance, about two-thirds of the public access government websites through their desktop, compared to 25 percent who do it through a mobile device.
Slightly more than a third of Americans use Google’s Chrome browser to check out the government, while 28 percent use Internet Explorer and 20 percent use Safari.
That information will be useful to federal officials, the White House said, to make sure they are focusing their efforts on the websites and digital services people use the most.
The project is open source, meaning programmers anywhere can examine the code behind the site and play with it to develop new tools. Data on a variety of indicators can also be easily downloaded, which could provide valuable information to analysts.
While the site tracks how people visit various websites across the government, it doesn’t keep tabs on any identifying information about them.
It’s also not totally complete. Of the 1,350 government domains, the analytics dashboard includes slightly fewer than 300.
Over the coming weeks and months, officials said they will continue to update the tool and add new websites and features to expand the dashboard's capability.