How to Manage In-World Search on Second Life

March 12, 2011 by · Comments Off on How to Manage In-World Search on Second Life
Filed under: Linden Lab and Second Life, SL In-World Search 

A number of people that depend on Second Life’s In-World Search have come to me and asked for help in optimizing their parcel or store. However a much larger number have chosen the Do It Yourself method. I’m pretty much a DIY kind of guy too, so I completely understand. But doing it by yourself only works if you truly know what you are doing. Just as you wouldn’t rent a bunch of tools and start replacing the head gasket on your car’s engine if all you’d ever done was add oil … you shouldn’t start tweaking and adjusting your Object Names and Descriptions until you have at least a basic idea of how Search works. More importantly, you need to know how it DOESN’T work … it doesn’t work immediately.
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Playing Hide and Seek in Second Life

Second Life is a big place. A VERY big place. You only need to consult the Second Life Grid Survey – Region Database (┬ęTyche Shepherd 2011) to feel a bit overwhelmed with its size. With over 31,500 Regions online, it’s not hard to get totally lost. And I don’t mean lost as in “can’t find my way home,” but lost as in “where’s waldo?” Lost in the crowd … Buried in the noise … One leaf in a forest of trees.

If you want to play Hide and Seek, Second Life is an ideal place to do it. The problem though is that most folks that are in business in Second Life want anything but to play games with their visibility. They want to be found, to be easily seen, and to be recognized for who they are and what they provide. The way they accomplish that is to set their Parcel or Store to “Show In Search.”

In Second Life, “Search” is handled by an impressive piece of technology called a GSA (short for “Google Search Appliance”). Like its similarly named big brother, the GSA crawls the entire Second Life Grid, indexing Parcels and their contents, storing all the information in its internal database. When someone uses Search to find something of interest, the GSA uses their request to look through its database and pick the most relevant results.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work …

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