First off, I counted breadcrumbs trails. 43 out of 53 sites had them, many with the words 'You are here' preceding the trail.
8 of the search engines are Google Custom search.
1 is powered by Google but not branded
1 search engine returned no results for any search term
1 search by atomz - page not found error
4 non-Google search produced good results
1 non-Google search produced good results and highlighted search term in resulted page.
4 non-Google search results were worse than a bog-standard Google search within site
I didn't finish this list because I got into a Skype call with James and Sasha regarding Ning. We decided to renew a basic NING account for 1 year which has now been done. We also set up a Google Group, Google Site, Google Blog and Google email address too. All that was a bit complicated but I hope to get it all sorted out over the weekend and start sharing the various sites with the rest of the group. All a bit premature but at least it is all started.
The small logo in the Group is just for a start - I will attempt to do a better one when I get time but if anyone else fancies picking up their pens and pencils (or Photoshop), feel free and join in.
Back to the search stuff above - it seems fairly obvious to me that paid for search engines which come as part of a CMS can never do any better than the basic Google site search (which is free). The issue may be getting recent web pages to index quickly with Google but I think this can be overcome by using Google Webmaster Tools.
Next idea is to do a mock-up of the BBC home page as a police.uk concept site. I want to try and work out how a national police site and the force sites can site together. There must be some element of continuity between all police sites but still a large element of uniqueness and local branding. The balance between the two will be politically charged and very difficult to achieve so starting will some innocent drawings looks to be the best way to begin. If we don't like the drawings, we can throw them away and try again!
(originally posted on July 30, 2010)