In-World Search – Bad News and Good News

As most everyone is aware these days, Linden Lab has announced the end of their GSA-based In-World Search service and the upcoming release of a new SOLR/Lucene based version. As these two versions are roughly associated with different versions of the SL Viewer, the GSA-based Search is commonly referred to as “V1 Search” while the new Lucene-based Search is called “V2 Search”.

Not too long ago the DG Products for Second Life (DGP4SL) SEO Tools were offline as a result of being blocked from using the Search Services at secondlife.com. After a good bit of conversation with the LL Search Dev team, we’ve made some changes that should help performance going forward and made significant strides in getting ready for the new V2 Search as well. In today’s post I’ll address the changes released today and the path going forward as well.

Search Bot v2.8 Released

During my conversations with the LL Search Dev team, I was informed that of all the various “Consumers” of the Second Life In-World Search Service, the SEO Tools hosted on the http://www.dgp4sl.com web site was by far the largest in terms of bandwidth. In fact, because of all the various tools out there now, the site was submitting something around 25 qps (Queries Per Second) to the In-World Search web service.

While they understand that the DGP4SL SEO Tools are acting as an “Aggregator” and thus will be sending much more traffic than any single person would normally request, the volume of requests was taxing their service unexpectedly. They have asked that we implement changes to reduce this volume as much as possible. After spending a good bit of time studying the process and service provided by Search Bot (which is the main cause of the high service demand), we’ve come up with a solution that should not impact the service provided yet will significantly reduce the demands on their servers.

The most obvious change is the reduction in Search Rate. Prior versions of Search Bot performed their search once every hour. That meant that if you configured 20 search queries into Search Bot, every hour it would submit all 20 queries. Because of how those searches are returned, each query resulted in an average of 10 requests. However what we noticed was that most of those Searches returned the exact same result as during the previous hour. So this new version (v2.8) changes how often searches are performed. Now, instead of searching every hour, Search Bot v2.8 waits until 3 hours after the Parcel’s HTML Page is updated and then performs one search. This immediately reduces the number of searches from 24 per day to 4 per day; a 1/6th reduction in traffic demands on the LL Servers.

So please, if you have the v2.7 or earlier Search Bot running now, check your inventory for the v2.8 BOX or IM Darrius Gothly to get your updated version then install it as soon as possible.

Coming Soon – Search Bot V2

We’re putting the finishing touches on a version of Search Bot that works with the upcoming SOLR/Lucene version of In-World Search. This new version will be called “Search Bot V2” (with the V2 suffix indicating it works only with the new V2 Search). It will include all the same features as in the V1 Search Bot including Search History web site graphs. This new version uses a special “Bridge Service” created by the Search Dev Team. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the new Search Bot V2 will be an “Interim” product release. The Search Dev team has informed us that they will eventually be turning off the special Bridge Service. We have been in negotiations with them and have received a promise that we will have at least 60 days notice before it is turned off. Furthermore they are studying the suggestions we made to improve the Search Service including a modification that will make automated searches much faster and much more efficient. So the bad news is really more like mediocre news, a little bad but a good bit of good too.

As a result of this impending change, we’ve made the decision that the new Search Bot V2 will be sold as a new product and not provided as a “Free Update” to owners of the V1 Search Bot. However when Linden Lab’s Search Dev team turns off the Bridge and goes to the new interface fully, we will update all owners of the V2 Search Bot free of charge. This has not been an easy decision to make, but we’ve spent a lot of time so far maintaining our web site and handling the changes from Search itself, so with the increase in traffic this will cause and the time expected to handle the full update, we felt it necessary to consider the V2 Search Bot as a new product.


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