FirstGov Launches New Search Engine

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Vivisimo and Microsoft combined technologies to power the FirstGov.gov search engine, which launched three months ahead of schedule.

FirstGov.gov? Sounds like the Department of Redundancy Department named the site. Putting the jokes aside, Vivisimo and its contractor-partner, Microsoft, managed to integrate their respective search tools into a single search point of presence for the FirstGov website, GCN reported.

Vivisimo brought its clustering know-how to the table, while Microsoft contributed search expertise. Together, they have rebuilt FirstGov’s search engine into a site that indexes 40 million pages now compared to 8 million in its previous iteration.

Users of Vivisimo’s Clusty search site will recognize the familiar clustered results on the left side of the search result page. A quick test query for “fine arts grants” brought back 119 results, sorted into a list of sites like the federal NEA, state results from Virginia and Ohio, and even some results from the official site of the Chickasaw Nation.

GCN commented in its report about some of the features available on FirstGov:

…visitors also will receive improved search results, including links to Portable Document Format forms, podcasts of President Bush’s speeches or comments on specific topics, and links to frequently asked questions that are ranked by user needs.

Vivisimo also includes a new feature that lets users preview the Web page link before actually leaving FirstGov.gov. The preview box appears in the list of result links, which lets the user decide how worthwhile the responses are.

GSA also plans on rolling out a government news and images search and refreshing the look of the site in the fall…

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

FirstGov Launches New Search Engine
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