Updates from FirstGov and Ask Jeeves

The search engines at FirstGov and Ask Jeeves have both been upgraded and enhanced with new features and capabilities.

FirstGov, the U.S. government information and services portal managed by the General Services Administration, has introduced a new index powered by FAST (which also powers the AllTheWeb and Lycos search engines). The new system replaces the existing search engine originally donated to FirstGov by Eric Brewer, co-founder of Inktomi.

New search features include the indexing of multiple file formats other than HTML, including PDF and Microsoft office documents. The index includes more than 51 million U.S. federal and state web pages.

The index that has been generated by the FAST Data Search software from the federal and state web sites will also be significantly more current than the previous index. While the entire index will never have information that is more than two weeks old, FAST Data Search will be able to refresh the data index by adding information from government sites that are known to change as frequently as every day.

We'll take a closer look at the new and improved FirstGov in an upcoming issue of SearchDay.

Meanwhile, Ask Jeeves has also upgraded its service. New features include:

  • Real-time news search: Users can now access and search for breaking news and related information in real-time directly from Ask Jeeves' homepage.

  • Jeeves IQ: Updated weekly, Jeeves IQ showcases top searches conducted on Ask Jeeves. From consumer trends to breaking news, the millions of searches conducted on Ask Jeeves each day provide insight into consumer needs, habits, trends and interests.

Enhanced site design: Ask Jeeves' new interface features navigational tabs, accessible from the Ask Jeeves homepage, for Web results, searchable news, and Jeeves Shopping.


Help for FirstGov.gov Users
An excellent overview of the wide range of ways you can find government information and services using the FirstGov portal.

Ask Jeeves

Search Engine Marketers: Include your company on SEMList.com before it launches June 24th.


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About the author

Chris Sherman is a frequent contributor to several information industry journals. He's written several books, including The McGraw-Hill CD ROM Handbook and The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See, co-authored with Gary Price. Chris has written about search and search engines since 1994, when he developed online searching tutorials for several clients. From 1998 to 2001, he was About.com's Web Search Guide.