In the last tech tip we talked about how the inmeta operator can be used to do sophisticated queries leveraging the metadata associated with your documents. What if your needs are more complex? You not only want to do queries based on specific meta tag values but also need to provide price range searches on your e-commerce site or date range searches inside your document management system. Luckily we added few interesting operators in the recent release of the Google Search Appliance and they will play nicely with the inmeta operator.
We added new operators for doing number (including price) and date range searches. For number range searches, just add two numbers, separated by two periods, with no spaces, into the search box along with your search terms. For date range searches, use the daterange operator. Let's take a look at some common examples and see these operators in action.
An e-commerce site sells electronics and apparel goods and wants to make it easier for it's customers to search products by keywords and also restrict the searches by price range and other numeric meta tags. For example to express a query that searches for rain jacket in the price range of $100 to $500 one would enter a query like:
rain jacket inmeta:retailprice:$100..$500
You can also express a query that searches flat panel TV between 30 to 50 inches; one would enter a query like:
flat panel TV inmeta:size:30..50
In case of enterprise search, a search-user may be interested in the documents within an ECM system like Documentum or Livelink that provide information about "marketing plan" but restrict to only those documents that were published between Jan 1 2006 to Nov 27 2006. To express such a query one would simply enter a query like:
marketing plan inmeta:publishdate:daterange:2006-01-01..2006-11-27.
I have also seen e-commerce sites that use the Google Search Appliance to power their search, implement a simple search front-end that has a search box and a price slider along with it. Search-users enter the keyword in the search box and pick the appropriate price or number range using the UI widget. The search front-end in turn converts that request to the appropriate search syntax described in the above examples. This way the search-user not only has the power to express complex searches but she also doesn't need to familiarize herself with the additional syntax.
These range-based operators are more examples of how you can provide the power and precision of Google search with the flexibility and customization that your business requires.