Google claims to know the digital capital of each U.S. state (but doesn't)

Wed, 2013-08-28 06:00 -- Jesse Berst

digital cityCute idea, but Google's attempt to find the top "eCity" for each U.S. state really turns out to be a measure of the top smaller city with the businesses that do the most to have a presence online. The methodology favors smaller cities over big ones, as you can see by reading the results. (Zionsville, Indiana? Really? Bainbridge Island, Washington? Puh-leeze.) Plus it captures only one small fraction of a business's digital presence, namely whether it has a website and has registered in various directories.

Thus, a city with lots of doughnut shops with websites would outscore a city with a large and massively important business that had failed to get into directories or use social media. In California, for instance, the home towns of Google, Apple and Oracle failed to make the grade, but the surfer's paradise of Carlsbad was at the top. Uh huh. Right.

I hope Google's search algorithms are more accurate than its eCity algorithms. -- Jesse Berst


Google says the awards recognize the strongest online business community in each state. "These cities’ businesses are using the web to find new customers, connect with existing customers and fuel their local economies," a Google website says. "Across the country, businesses that are online expect to grow 40% faster."

So which cities did they choose? Here are the 2013 winners:

AL - Madison

AK - Homer

AZ - Scottsdale

AR - Bella Vista

CA - Carlsbad

CO - Boulder

CT - Glastonbury

DE - Bear

FL - Santa Rosa Beach

GA - Atlanta

HI - Kailua Kona

ID - Sandpoint

IL - Oak Brook

IN - Zionsville

IA - West Des Moines

KS - Lenexa

KY - Lexington

LA - Mandeville

ME - Scarborough

MD - Ocean City

MA - Westborough

MI - Walled Lake

MN - Minnetonka

MS - Ridgeland

MO - Maryland Heights

MT - Whitefish

NE - Lincoln

NV - Carson City

NH - Amherst

NJ - Princeton

NM - Albuquerque

NY - New York

NC - Cary

ND - Fargo

OH - Solon

OK - Edmond

OR - Ashland

PA - Exton

RI - Middletown

SC - N. Myrtle Beach

SD - Sioux Falls

TN - Hendersonville

TX - Austin

UT - Park City

VT - South Burlington

VA - Chantilly

WA - Bainbridge Island

WV - Charleston

WI - Pewaukee

WY - Casper

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Jesse Berst is the founding Chairman of the Smart Cities Council. Click to subscribe to SmartCitiesNow, the weekly newsletter highlighting smart city trends, technologies and techniques.