Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Smarter searching in All for Good

[Cross-posted on Google Public Sector Blog. YouTube's Video Volunteers platform uses the All for Good gadget to connect nonprofit organizations with skilled video-makers.]

One of the top concerns we've been hearing from nonprofit organizations who list volunteer opportunities on All for Good is that their opportunities aren't updated on the site as frequently as they need. This happens because All for Good doesn't directly receive volunteer opportunities from nonprofits - we crawl feeds from partners like VolunteerMatch and Idealist just like Google web search crawls web pages. Crawlers don't immediately update, they take time to find new information.

Today, we're rolling out improvements to All for Good that will help solve this problem and improve search quality for users. The biggest change, which you won't see directly, is that our search engine is now powered by SOLR, an incredible open source project that will allow us to provide higher quality and more up-to-date opportunities. Nonprofits should start seeing their opportunities indexed faster, and users should see more relevant and complete results.

We're also making searching easier by launching categories. When you go to All for Good, you now have the option to search by categories of listings in addition to keywords, making it easier to find opportunities you're interested in. Categorization is just the first of several features we'll be adding in the coming months to help you find interesting ways to give back to your community.

We hope you'll try out All for Good and participate in a service activity this summer. If you're interested in helping others do good, you can get involved in All for Good by contributing to our source code, developing an application with our API, or embedding the All for Good gadget on your web site or blog.


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