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GDS examines new search possibilities for GOV.UK


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Image source: Lekhawattana

The Government Digital Service (GDS) is looking at the possibility of developing a new search approach within the GOV.UK website for central government.

It has indicated that it is looking at using managed search products such as the Google programmable search engine, the Microsoft Bing custom search API, or AWS Cloudsearch in an effort to make it easier for visitors to the site to find content – and to reduce the need for maintenance work.

GDS has published a market notice for support in a nine-month project, scheduled to begin next February, to identify, test and evaluate a range of managed site search solutions. A suitable one could be integrated into the GOV.UK technology stack in place of the existing self-hosted Elasticsearch solution.

“Our goal is to significantly improve the quality of the GOV.UK site search experience for users by improving the relevancy of results,” the notice says, adding that if it can identify a measurably better solution than Elasticsearch.

The first phase of work will involve running trials and evaluating different search products to see if they meeti the requirements of the website. The second would cover implementation and the third ongoing support and optimisation of a chosen platform.

Other possibilities previously identified by GDS so far are Algolia and Miso.

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