How does Calgary and Utah do it?
January 23, 2014 8:33 AM   Subscribe

If you visit the City of Calgary and State of Utah websites, the center of the page is a Google search bar. How do these sites incorporate Google's search into their websites in what looks to be real time?

I'd like to create a similar website for our town and get away from the dozens of pull-down menus and pieces of information that might not be easy to find. The trend seems to be going towards search boxes front and center as in these two sites:
State of Utah and Calgary

I understand about XML sitemaps to get Google to map your site, but these look to be doing realtime searches. Is this more complicated than I think it is - how easy will this be to do for a small 1 man shop?!
posted by dukes909 to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
They're using some variant of Google Enterprise Search, and as I was getting links for you, look at the case study they link to: Calgary (pdf). Likely, they're using a custom search engine or appliance that indexes only the website in question, then loading the as-you-type results in a highly-styled form, probably in some Ajaxy way. It's not super complicated, but you need to be competent in some more advanced web programming and design and willing to pay Google.
posted by The Michael The at 8:42 AM on January 23, 2014

Best answer: On further investigation, it looks like Calgary (and likely Utah) are using Google Search Appliance. Unless you're running your own servers, you're probably in the market for Google Site Search (we're using it here at work). I'm not super familiar with the relative feature sets of the two, but it's worth investigating to see if GSS will do what you want.
posted by The Michael The at 8:46 AM on January 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Yeah, page source code says Google Search Appliance. The freebie version is Google Custom Search Engine which is less fancy but generates customized search results. Enterprise Site Search is the non-free version which works with non-public sites as well.
posted by GuyZero at 8:56 AM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: On that note, and maybe this should be another question entirely (mod?)..but if I am developing a new site for our town, most likely the URL's will be different - how does one get Google to index the new site and not the old one, or both sites and still produce accurate results?
posted by dukes909 at 10:31 AM on January 23, 2014

Google Webmaster Console is basically the only answer to any google-related indexing question.
posted by GuyZero at 10:43 AM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah, an HTTP 301 redirect from the old pages to the new ones, to be exact.
posted by derbs at 11:38 AM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

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