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Over the past years we have been adding not only one, but two great search products to the EPiServer portfolio – EPiServer Find and SiteSeeker. Now the time has come to release a consolidated offer, our next generation search platform.
Some of you might have heard the name "Project Owl" flying around, but this bird now got a real name. We have decided to stick with the name EPiServer Find. To make things slightly less confusing you will probably see us referring to the "New EPiServer Find" (someone might draw a parallel to the naming convention another IT company have used). Our new search offer is based on Find's existing technical platform offering amazing scalability and the much-loved .Net API. We combine this with key concepts taken from SiteSeeker to provide you with the best possible search experience.
The first thing that strikes you when logging in to the New Find is the stunning new interface it offers. We have spent a lot of time analyzing and interviewing users of both Find and SiteSeeker to learn what we could to better – this provided a number of insights. We noticed that our users wanted to leverage the statistics but had a difficult time fully understanding the statistics. The result was that it was hard for them to make the correct optimizations, since they could not find the data to back it up.
So, we decided to promote the statistics view as a starting point in the interface and then let the navigation begin from there. We call this "actionable analytics" - connecting the statistics directly to the optimizations. We make it easy to stay on top of things and at the same time making sure that the most effective optimizations can be done.
Talking about optimizations, we now offer new capabilities to further enhance the search experience on your site. Synonyms is a feature that has been requested for a long time and it is now available. It is possible to add both plain and bidirectional synonyms.
The new interface also includes an inline help feature. So when ever you're lost, just click the help icon in the upper right corner and we will guide you back on track.
We are now introducing a new way of getting your site indexed. As a complement to pushing items to the index, it is now possible to use a crawler to index your content. We are doing this through our connector framework and we're calling it "Find Connections". From the get-go, we will have a web crawler and a RSS feed crawler available – these are perfect if for instance you want to crawl an external blog site. In the future it is likely that we will add several more connectors to the list.
For the past year we have been tinkering with the search engine to make the search results even more relevant. We are adding behavioral information as well as content freshness as parameters that will affect the overall ranking of search hits. This will make sure that the search engine is relevant straight out of the box.
For those of you who would like more control of the relevance and the ranking profiles, we now make it possible to configure the weights for the individual content properties. This is done right inside the administration interface. Please note that this affect the ranking significantly – "with great powers comes great responsibility".
With this release we're taking the opportunity to do some re-packaging of our offer. We will still offer three main levels of EPiServer Find – Small, Medium and Large. The main differentiator is still the number of items included in each package, but we are now also offering premium SLA for the upper levels.
We now include at least two indexes in each level, perfect if you need a test index to complement your production index. Starting from today all indexes are production grade, which means we don't have separate test indexes anymore. Do you need even more indexes? It's now easy to add additional indexes to an existing account.
If you need to leverage the crawling capability, you should be looking at Find Connections. If you need the full story on the packages and pricing, head over here.
With this release we see new possibilities to use search technology to generate business value outside the traditional search page. We are looking forward to see EPiServer Find being used in new innovative ways, for instance for creating automatic landing pages, adaptive navigation or guided search. Stay tuned to find out more!
During the development or testing phase of a project you sometimes need to clear the index, the statistics view or both. It's now possible to this from the administration interface in EPiServer Find.