Vivisimo and MSN Awarded Contract to Power Search on FirstGov

Word in this news release that Vivisimo (the Clusty people) has been awarded a federal government contract to provide search techology to the U.S. Government’s portal. MSN Search will also play a role in the new FirstGov search.

As part of the agreement, Vivisimo teamed with Microsoft’s MSN Search Web service to provide search results for the government domain.

The announcement also points out that Vivisimio plans to use its own crawling technology to develop focused/targeted crawls of some government (federal and local) material and then combine and cluster with MSN results.

Another news release from the General Services Administration (the organization that oversees FirstGov) offers a few more details including:

New Services will launch government-wide News and Image search services so citizens will not have to go to individual agencies to find these resources.


This new search strategy provides significantly more services for less than the cost of previous FirstGov search services. The value of the contract is $1.8 million annually, which is nearly half the cost of the current search service on The contract is part of a new Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) FirstGov has set up to acquire future Web search services. The BPA has a total value of $18 million over the length of the agreement.

The news release also points out that FirstGov has signed Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPA) with Fast Search and Transfer (the company currently powering search on FirstGov), Gigablast, and Vivisimo.

The BPA enables GSA to easily acquire new search services that are important to citizens, and enhance citizen access to government information.

When can we expect to begin seeing the new FirstGov search? Neither press release lists any dates. However, this FirstGov newsletter from August says to begin looking in February 2006.

We first blogged about FirstGov publishing a request for information from companies interested in offering search services to the government portal back in March.

Since 2002, FirstGov’s search capabilities have been powered with a database and search technology provided by Fast Search and Transfer and managed by AT&T. At its inception, FirstGov search was powered with technology from Inktomi.

Postscript: Clusty currently offers its own U.S. government meta search tool (released, March 2005) that includes .gov results from the MSN Search database.

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