Today we’re announcing our first product launch: FBOpen, a set of open-source tools to help small businesses search for opportunities to work with the U.S. government.

On the surface, is a simple, Google-style page where you can search available federal contracts and grants. We’ve used the latest in search technology to make finding opportunities easier and more effective for everybody.

FBOpen is more than a search website, however. For those who want to dig deeper, FBOpen is also an API (documented at that you can use to build custom query pages and analysis tools. Additionally, the codebase is open-source and available at our GitHub repository, so you can build your own FBOpen server, customize your own version of the API, add your own opportunity listings — the sky’s the limit.

We have big plans for FBOpen. First and foremost, we’ll be adding more types of opportunities to FBOpen to make it an even more useful resource for small businesses. Soon, we’ll also be releasing our FBOpen widget maker so you can add FBOpen queries to any web page simply by pasting a small snippet of code. And of course there are lots of new search features in the pipeline, including the ability to subscribe to queries, so you can be notified automatically when new opportunities arise that match your interests.

Like most 18F projects, FBOpen is a collaboration. FBOpen was inspired by the targeted marketing that RFP-EZ so successfully piloted, and it was developed hand-in-hand with the Integrated Award Environment team, the GSA CIO, and the team, all of whom helped make this project a model for rapid development and deployment.

In future posts we’ll talk about how FBOpen works, where the data comes from, and how it fits into 18F’s vision of procurement as a service. Get in touch with the FBOpen team on Twitter at @fbopen or, of course, at github.