GCN Insider | Vivisimo goes beyond FirstGov

TRENDS & TECHNOLOGIES that affect the way government does IT

Still riding a high from the launch of FirstGov.gov's new search engine, the company behind the search technology, officers of Vivisimo Inc. of Pittsburgh stopped by GCN to talk about the latest version of its Velocity platform. It turns out the General Services Administration (and the browsing public) got a sneak peak at several Velocity 5.0 features through FirstGov.gov.

'Some of these new features were in FirstGov,' said chief scientist and co-founder Jerome Pesenti. 'In some ways, it was like a beta site.'

The last time we talked to Pesenti was earlier this year at Microsoft Corp. headquarters in Redmond, Wash., where FirstGov officials were downright giddy about the capabilities Vivisimo was slipping into its search tool (Microsoft was a subcontractor to Vivisimo on the project, offering federated search results from its MSN service). Chief among them, now standard in Velocity 5, was the ability to 'feature' search-related content at the top of a results page. FirstGov also wanted the ability to do rich media searches, a feature now being integrated into the site and available to enterprises in Velocity 5.

Pesenti said his company wanted to deliver 'a richer search experience where data doesn't all look the same.' So, Velocity 5 includes new visualization tools so users can manipulate results through on-screen devices such as sliders and other filters. For enterprises, the new platform will crawl multiple data sources (although Vivisimo plans to release its connectors gradually, Pesenti said) and combine related content into 'virtual documents.' The content stays where it is but the search tool brings it together in a cohesive form.

Pesenti said Velocity 5 would also support role-based search at the content level, as opposed to the document level. For instance, an administrator could make it so two different people in an agency could get to the same document, but different parts of that document might be off-limits to one or the other depending on their jobs.

For more IT trends and analysis, visit the GCN.com Tech Blog at www.gcn.com/blogs/tech.

About the Authors

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.


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