Although they’re not willing to give their own information to the US government, Google can certainly provide you with all the information you need from the government. Today, Google announced their specialized Google search for United States government sites at the federal, state, and local level.
With the inevitably sprawling nature of government, this has potential to be a really handy service. I’ve certainly occasionally found myself searching for a piece of government information having only a vague idea of what agency I might be needing to look at. Hopefully, this will make that kind of search a bit easier.
I’m particularly intrigued by the option to create personalized feeds of information from government agencies – so few agencies have jumped on board the syndication bandwagon, and it’s very challenging to keep up on their activities.
A little uncertain whether I want to sign in to personalize
my Google government search, however. On the offhand chance that Google does someday have to give up their search data, how do you feel about the government having a catalog of your searches on the government?
A while back, I was talking a lot about vertical search engines – and I believe I mentioned that I was thinking of writing up something more permanent on the topic.
Well, today I posted a new article on that very subject.
One of the big buzzwords in search technology right now is the idea of vertical search. The idea’s been around for years, but the crop of new vertical search tools erupting this year brings the whole idea into sharp relief.
At it’s core, vertical search is the very basic concept of searching within a specific industry, topic, or among closely related pieces of information. A post by
Jeff Dalton puts a valuable perspective on the subject – as a software developer for a vertical search company, he’s in a good position to address the topic.
What Jeff focuses on is the question "what is a vertical search engine?" This is an interesting question, of course, but I’m more interested in the concept of vertical search itself. Jeff’s post splits hairs between what is and isn’t a web search engine. Fine – I agree that not all companies called vertical search engines are necessarily search engines at all! Still, I don’t think there’s anything inherent in the term vertical search which requires that a web search engine be involved.
I’m not going to delve deeply into the nitty gritty of vertical search right now – I’m going to keep mulling this over in my head to produce a quality article on the topic.
For now, if you want more information, read the article mentioned above by Jeff Dalton or perhaps Om Malik’s thoughts on the subject or Tom Evslin’s take.
For now, I’m just going to say that I feel that Evslin’s statement that "’vertical search engine’ is an oxymoron" is off target. There’s nothing inherent in the term ‘search engine’ which requires the index to be comprehensive! The value, I suspect, to vertical search engines may be the ability to provide advertisers with highly targeted and industry focused media sources.