Improvements coming soon

Excited about some coming changes to search at the University of Melbourne!

In a short while (within the coming month), we’ll be upgrading our public search tool. For years, we’ve stumbled along with a ‘free’ Google Custom Search, but this has meant forgoing many features that users take for granted. So, as a first step in the process of implementing an Enterprise Search, we successfully proposed that a paid Google Site Search would deliver some short term gains, as well as providing valuable insights and experience.

Some of the things you’ll notice straight away:

  • Improved look and feel, especially on small screen devices
  • Filtering of results by preset refinements (news, events, etc.)*
  • Introduction of image search
  • Auto completions that prompt users as they type
  • Introduction of promoted results**

* Keen observers will note that this feature used to be available, but had to be disabled due to restrictions imposed by Google under the terms of the ‘free’ search.

** Promotions will be managed via a system of governance that is yet to be formulated. Initial promotions have been generated based on statistics of popular searches, as well as information from the A to Z directory.

In the future, we’ll be looking at other features that we may be able to implement, but we’re hoping that the immediate improvements will be significant, and well received.

And finally, a note for those with the inevitable question – no, this upgrade will not enable searching of ‘private’ (password, token, or network based authentication). The index is all publicly available and cannot be restricted or controlled. This is the key feature of the coming Enterprise Search, however, we’re hoping that this small upgrade will give a taste of what’s to come :-)

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