For some time, the California Secretary of State's office has offered a business search application on its website. Although the function provided only limited information, the application received more than 5 million views per month. On St. Lucia's day, the Secretary of State announced a new and improved search application.
From my perspective, one of the key new features is the ability to view PDF copies of the most recent Statements of Information filed for corporations and limited liability companies. While the looking is gratis, the copies are uncertified and their availability is subject to the rather cryptic proviso "if the statements have been imaged".
The Secretary of State also provides an explanation of when the next annual statement of information will be due. A California stock corporations must file a statement of information (SI-550) within 90 days after filing its articles of incorporation. Annual updating is required thereafter but the due date is a little murky. An updated statement must be filed during the "applicable filing period" which is the calendar month in which the articles of incorporation were filed and the immediately preceding five calendar months. Cal. Corp. Code § 1502(d). If, for example, the articles of incorporation were filed in August, then the "applicable filing period would be March through and including August.