FirstGov.gov to expand capabilities with new contract

The General Services Administration expects an expanded search function on Firstgov.gov to improve access to and the efficiency of the portal. A broadened search tool should let users search for government services across all levels, including state and local resources, GSA said today.

In a $1.8 million annual contract with Vivisimo Inc. of Pittsburgh and a partnership with Microsoft Corp., GSA said the enhanced Firstgov.gov portal will “provide citizens with unprecedented access to government information from a single source.”

The search function will rely on software developer Vivisimo’s Clusty.com search engine and incorporate results and features from Microsoft’s MSN search engine, GSA said. As an example, GSA said that if a user searched for “nursing jobs,” the results will come from both the FirstGov.gov site and the government’s job database at USAJOBS.gov.

The function will go live next spring, followed by a video and news search addition in the fall, GSA officials said.

The new search tool also will expand the reach of the FirstGov portal, GSA said. Currently, the search tool includes an index of nearly 8 million federal Web sites, but the enhanced function will let users search an index that will be three times larger and include state, local, tribal and territorial Web sites.

“The enhancements we’re unveiling today improve Firstgov.gov’s ability to guide citizens through the sometimes-confusing federal bureaucracy and translate to simply yet advanced searches of government information and images,” said M.J. Pizzella, associate administrator of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Communications.

GSA signed the contract as part of an $18 million blanket-purchase agreement (BPA) for Web search services.

Three companies, including Vivisimo, were selected to participate in the BPA after the agency issued a request for quotes in the spring, Pizzella said. The other companies are Gigablast Inc. of Albuquerque, N.M., and Fast Search and Transfer, a Norweigen-based company with its U.S. headquarters in Needham, Mass.

The way the BPA is structured lets each company to bid to provide the search services each year, meaning that while Vivisimo won the first leg of the deal, the companies can revamp their products and make another run next year, Pizzella said.

FirstGov.gov is the government’s portal for information and services.

Posted at 11:02 a.m. and updated at 3:18 p.m., Sept. 23

About the Author

Connect with the GCN staff on Twitter @GCNtech.

Featured

  • Comment
    Pilot Class. The author and Barbie Flowers are first row third and second from right, respectively.

    How VA is disrupting tech delivery

    A former Digital Service specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs explains efforts to transition government from a legacy "project" approach to a more user-centered "product" method.

  • Cloud
    cloud migration

    DHS cloud push comes with complications

    A pressing data center closure schedule and an ensuing scramble to move applications means that some Homeland Security components might need more than one hop to get to the cloud.

  • Comment
    Blue Signage and logo of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

    Doing digital differently at VA

    The Department of Veterans Affairs CIO explains why digital transformation is not optional.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.