One of the things I’ve long envied at Google is their 20% rule, by which they allow developers to carve off one day in 5 for projects of interest outside their day job. This is the origin of All for Good, a site put up by Google to help people find local volunteer opportunities (thanks to Ty Ahmad Taylor of fanfeedr.com for pointing it out to me). It’s heartening to see, in a time when people in our society are struggling with uncertainties in economics, health care and more — and when the same slowdown means that many of us have more time on our hands to give. Allforgood in turn powers search for serve.gov, the Federal Government’s portal for public service.
So what powers All for Good? We’ve written before about the power of open source to help with government and the public sector, and indeed, the Allforgood team (including the Craigslist Foundation and the Corporation for National Service) has built the All For Good site in Open Source. This week, All for Good announced that they are introducing a new innovation to provide better, faster search: search at All for Good is now powered by Apache Solr. Here’s what they said:
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.
It’s hard to ask for a better endorsement for Solr search than from Google.