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Google update: The widening search

Call me impressed with at least one cog in the giant wheel of government IT procurement. As a tech editor, I don't spend much time digging into the nuances of the FAR and GSA schedules, etc. But this morning on this blog I wondered about a solicitation released Tuesday for a Google Search Appliance.

To re-cap, I and others here at GCN couldn't understand how GSA, on behalf of the Navy Warfare Development Command, could specifically request a $30,000 Google appliance when agencies weren't supposed to name names in their IT requests.

Yesterday I e-mailed the GSA contracting officer for clarification and today, after the first blog post, I got a response. The official rightly pointed out that the FAR allows for specifying brand-names under certain circumstances, but he was in no way defensive about the solicitation. If anything he was open to feedback.

The contracting officer said the program office had done market research and acquisition planning. And the Google Search Appliance was on GSA Schedule 70, but only available from one vendor. In the interest of more competition, the contracting officer issued a solicitation to see if anyone else could get the government a better deal on the Google appliance.

Problem was, that assumed the Google appliance was the only option out there. When the officer understood that wasn't the case, he circled back to the program manager.

Now we just got word that GSA has cancelled the Google solicitation to give the program manager "additional time to consider other commercially available products."

Heck, Google may turn out to be just what the government needs in this circumstance. We'll find that out later. But we're pleased with GSA's willingness to explore other options.

Posted by Brad Grimes

Posted by Brad Grimes, Joab Jackson on Jul 27, 2006 at 9:39 AM


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