Hosted site search as a market has had basically zero innovation since Google launched its site search product. That was like 6 years ago.
If you've ever tried Google site search, you know how much it sucks. It's basically just a thin wrapper around a site:yourdomain.com Google search. It gives you zero control over the index (it uses the public Google index), and it's completely inappropriate for any large-scale site.
Swiftype is a perfect fit for sites that want a high-quality, customized site-search that feels like it was built from scratch. Even if you're already using Solr on your site, Swiftype can be great for creating a lightweight search engine, like for your help/documentation section.
I've tried google site search (which sucked and wouldn't index all the Scribd pages for example, and it wasn't good enough for the parse documentation) and I've also used lucene and sphinx (pain to set up and the marketing folks always complained about search results, speed, ordering, relevance, etc, and analytics were a pain). Swiftype is the best option by far. I love this company -- really excited they finally have launched and I can talk about them.
Think about all the sites that use google custom site search just because that's the only decent option for them up until today. Huge market here. Congrats Swiftype.
When searching via Chrome, I kept getting a blank content area with no search results. I did some digging (thinking that the issue might be that I reject 3rd party cookies) and I found the problem:
https://swiftype.com/embed.js wasn't loading. I went to view this script in my browser and got an error which was preventing the script from executing: "The identity of this website has not been verified. Server's certificate is not trusted." I clicked "proceed" to view the script in the browser, and when I went back to the search page, it worked as intended.
I don't think I would try it if I wanted to get to the online store (I would Google "apple.com store") if they removed the "store" tab to make room for something else...
That is just how low my expectation of in-site search is. The status quo is abysmal!
So, I agree there is quite a bit of room for improvement here... Just remember my laughter in the 0.2 to 0.5 seconds or however long it takes for the apple.com search field to expand... :)
Also +1: more clarity on pricing, please.
Also, not sure if you caught this on the site yet, but we do have support for custom metadata: http://swiftype.com/documentation/meta_tags
As an example: We are foo.org but are also partnered with bar.org and baz.org. A search for "code awareness" should return a result from either of the three websites.
Searching for "about me" (with quotes) returns the "Distributed Version Control is here to stay, baby" article at http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2010/03/17.html first, and http://www.joelonsoftware.com/AboutMe.html second. While it's pretty stupid that the "About Joel Spolsky" text is in a <div> tag versus a <hX> tag, maybe you could weight the title more, because likely people will be using Swiftype to search curated corporate sites that are typically less spammy than the general Internet.
Anyway, great job so far, and I'm very excited to see this and where this could lead!
After poking around a bit more, it looks like my search engine was created. But when I click it, I get an error message: "You have not created any DocumentTypes in James Shore yet. Please use the API to get started." This is despite selecting the "Crawler" option when creating the engine.
Also, deleting an engine asks me to confirm, but then doesn't actually appear to delete it.
I want to love this tool, so I'm looking forward to when these growing pains are resolved.
Edit: A third attempt appears to have worked. I'm guessing you're seeing a lot of load, and your code isn't handling timeout errors well?
- specify result rankings;
- add facets to our products and then SS allows the customer to do things like compare products, restrict to over $$, or only white, grey and red;
- does fuzzy completions etc.
I ask because while the product we use is OK, it doesn't have a great API, and I want to be able to integrate more tightly with the service and allow myself to do things like A/B tests, dynamic results, customer specific rankings etc.
Quick feature suggestion: Can we replace/ignore specific text in the titles? I'm indexing a site with "Page title - Site Name" as the title of each search result, and manually editing 100+ pages is no fun :)
Alternately, you could compare the window title and the h1 list (or against other page titles) and automatically adjust accordingly.
Can't recommend Swiftype enough.
I can think of a few Google tools that could be done way better if a startup put a lot of effort into solving the problem better, like Google Groups which is nigh unusable due to spam and a crappy interface.
Site search was a huge distribution strategy Google used to do search. They simply worked up market until they had tons of users going to Google.com itself.
Obviously a great feature for the site owner. But I'm sure if that's a useful feature for the users. At least Google's results are objective, and wouldn't give me the page generates the most revenue as the first link.
Google has invested heavily in relevance for their main web search, which is obviously excellent. But they've totally ignored their site search product and if you try it, you'll find that the relevance is quite poor.
Hopefully, sites will use Swiftype's controls not just to maximize short-term revenue, but to improve relevance and user experience. After all, with Google site search, Google can only use public relevance signals like inbound links to rank pages. But on your site, you have lots of internal data about which pages are most important and you can use that to steer people towards the pages they're probably looking for.
You have not created any DocumentTypes in ENGINE_NAME yet.
Please use the API to get started.
What am I doing wrong?
Now I'm waiting to see how much this is going to cost me after you guys come out of beta! Again awesome.
I watched the video, I'm intrigued, now I want to use Swiftype -- but there is no search form on your homepage.
Searching your own site would be easiest, but I realize there isn't much content yet, so not the best demo.
What about using the logos of sites using Swiftype to activate a search form that actually takes you to their search results? "Trusted by these companies, give Swiftype a test..."
Edit: I'm trying it out now, but keep getting 500 errors. You're probably getting a lot of traffic right now.
Quick feedback: while the demo video plays, the screenshot slideshow continues. In my browser, this was just beneath the bottom left of the video and was really distracting. Could you pause the slideshow when the video popup is displayed?
This looks really cool, kudos to the guys that built it. One thing that's worth pointing out:
Google Site Search and Google Custom Search are two different things. The former is free and a "wrapper" as was noted, the latter is incredibly powerful and easy to implement/tune.
That said, I'd rather give my money to these guys assuming they have a sane pricing model.
For reference, that is what I'm currently using on my website, http://pepijndevos.nl