Google turns up fed business
- By Aliya Sternstein
- Mar 28, 2005
Google’s search function is becoming a more popular addition to federal agencies’ Web sites, according to officials attending a seminar last week sponsored by Google.
The Health and Human Services, Agriculture and Transportation departments are among Google’s top federal customers, providing Google’s search service to visitors of the departments’ Web sites.
Chris Niedermayer, the USDA’s associate chief information officer for electronic government, said the department chose Google for the relevance and speed of its results. USDA officials installed the appliance on USDA.gov last October, and they have spent about $300,000 to date.
“Once we put it on our main site, the interest of our agencies in using it on their sites just went through the roof,” Niedermayer said, adding that eventually all 29 USDA agencies will use the plug-and-play appliance.
Queries produce relevant USDA.gov domain hits at the top, rather than two or three pages back, which occurred with a previous search tool that listed public domain items first.
At the seminar, during which federal officials offered feedback to Google representatives, Niedermayer did note several kinks. He complained about the lack of phone support and documentation for the company’s GB-1001 model, which handles up to 1.5 million documents.
“We were implementing it to search protected sites, and there wasn’t a lot of documentation, so it took a little more trial and error than it probably needed to,” he said today.
USDA officials are also testing Google Desktop Search, which allows users to search the contents of their local hard drives, including e-mail, documents and Web pages viewed by the user.