27 February 2017

Google Site Search is no more

Tags:Search

Just over a year ago, Google announced that to was going to end support for the Google Search Appliance (GSA), and this month, users of the paid-for Google Site Search (GSS) service have also been told that this product is going to be discontinued.

Be more than a customer, get an ever-improving service

Squiz’s Funnelback platform is already a compelling alternative to both the GSS and public-facing GSA deployments, complete with SLAs and a professional services team to assist in the migration.

Free from third-party advertising and query limits, Funnelback’s hosted search solutions support the inclusion of external content (social media, data feeds, etc.) in addition to powerful refinements and UI controls.

GSS customers will also appreciate:

Support - our teams of experts know the challenges specific to your region because they live and work within your community. We will never outsource support or implementation to a third party and you can also 'self serve' support through Funnelback Community, where our knowledge base, resources for developers, and User Forum live.

Capabilities - we have an ‘open’ approach to our software, which means ranking control and the ability to configure capabilities is in your hands - if you want it. Developers familiar with the GSA’s JSON and XML APIs will enjoy familiar RESTful requests and responses from Funnelback’s own Public APIs, whilst search administrators will enjoy access to an easy-to-use Marketing Dashboard for tracking several search success metrics and influencing search behaviours over time.

Beyond expected product features, (such as synonyms, faceted search, and simple auto-completion), search administrators can also take advantage of:

  • >20 results displayed per response
  • Advanced boolean search syntax (not just OR)
  • Full control over zero results screens
  • Refinement styles beyond links and tabs
  • Tailored result collapsing signatures to prevent near-duplicates
  • Promotions inside auto-completions
  • Curated triggers and actions
  • Tailored result ranking profiles
  • Parallel searches
  • Structured annotations via external metadata
  • Contextual navigation for disambiguation
  • Facet counts
  • Recommender APIs
  • Admin APIs

Regulation - if you are an Australian customer, your data lives in Australia, if you are a UK customer, your data lives in the UK, and if you are a US customer, your data lives in the US.

Happily, our CMS has a partner product called Funnelback, which is a kick-ass search engine (originally developed by Australia’s CSIRO, who also invented Wifi), so when the GSA comes to end of life we’ve got a ready switch. Even now, we use Funnelback to construct pages in our CMS dynamically based on metadata and the level of control is excellent. If you’re looking for a ‘real’ search engine - 9/10 would recommend.

Andrew Harris The University of Melbourne

Squiz's Funnelback does an awful lot more than just replace GSS

If you're looking to move beyond the basics, Funnelback delivers:

  • Search Powered Content; build dynamic web pages or sections of pages with Funnelback to keep your visitors up to date with all your latest content automatically.
  • The Concierge; a multi-stream auto-completion tool that bypasses the search results page and sends your user directly to the right content.
  • The Curator; targeted and timed promotion of results that can be personalised based on known user details and history.
  • Search Sessions; a ‘shopping basket’ type favouriting system where user's can save their recent searches for easy comparison next time.
  • Social Media integrations; incorporating posts from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, You Tube (with Instagram, SoundCloud and Vimeo coming) that are relevant to the search query.
  • The Content Auditor; as part of our Auditor Suite, the Content Auditor helps you understand and control all of your content through one interface. Select from our proven set of audits or customise your own.

Added extras

As a license-based product, Funnelback comes with lots of other extras 'out-of-the-box' that promote better insights to help our customers align their design and content with their strategic business objectives - you don't have to pay anything extra.

Migration considerations

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Funnelback’s flexible templating engine and user interface hook scripts support the rapid deployment of XML/JSON requests and responses that replicate the GSS XML DTD. This approach will allow developers to ‘lift and shift’, but prevents administrators and end-users from taking advantage of enriched Funnelback functionality. It also enables quick turn around times on deployments, meaning you keep your the continuity of your search service.

Migrate and extend

Naturally, Funnelback’s default ranking algorithm will vary from other vendors’, but the Search Tuning Dashboard provides content owners an opportunity to drive a human-assisted approach to machine learning for search optimisation, giving you a set of weighting parameters tailored to your users, your content and your business goals.

Tapping into Funnelback’s powerful gathering and filtering pipelines will also allow you to take advantage of content that lives separately from your website, or content that might not exist in web-crawlable formats. Take control over cleaning and enriching your content as part of the migration exercise to break out of the traditional ‘black box’ search mentality.

Conformance, compliance and SLA's

Funnelback’s experience in delivering and supporting large-scale, tailored search solutions without compromising on conformance and regulation requirements makes it well suited to organisations looking for low-maintenance, fast-deployment, high-quality platforms. Constantly developed, Funnelback is frequently updated and improved with new features - something you get access to all under license.

So what are you waiting for? Get in contact with us today to plan your migration.

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