Google Launched Custom Search Engine

Google made no secret out of the fact that they worked on their own “custom” or “personalized” search engine. Lauren Baker over at Search Engine Journal was quick, because he made a post about it already a few hours ago.

Personalized Search Engine? What’s that? You might come across or already used the Services like Rollyo, Eurekster Swiki and Yahoo Search Builder. Those are “Custom” Search Engines. You can read Loren’s post to learn about how to use them to search your favorite Websites. I want to talk about the use of those custom search engines as cheap solution for an on site search on your Website.

I never tested Search Builder from Yahoo really. I created a “Search Engine” but never used it. I did however use Rollyo and Eurekster.

There are still some remains of the ladder on my site, but they are soon gone. Prior those new Web 2.0 gadgets did I use the Google Search Box with on Site search feature enabled and set to default.

It looked like crap in my opinion and was way to much plastered with Ads. There was not much room left for the actual On Site Search Results. I was ready to test those new toys for their practical use as alternative solution.

Rollyo did not last long on my site. It was not very practical as on site search solution you could not brand it at all and it shows so much other stuff that a user would never realize that he is searching my site and should ignore all the other stuff that is going on the screen. I changed it quickly and used it as intended, creating a few search engines for SQL Server and internet marketing related searches. I had the search box on my site as well as some kind of supplemental or complimentary search option (I should not use supplemental, because that word leaves a bad after taste in my mouth, thanks to Google).

Conclusion: Rollyo use for On Site Search – Impractical

Along came the Eurekster Swiki which looked cool on the surface. It was clearly designed to be used as On Site Search and Custom Search Engine to search your favorite news portals and Blogs. It allowed custom branding which was very far reaching and the initial results were also pretty good. The Keyword cloud was the best feature and the option to promote results and add pages that are relevant to a Keyword. Eurekster was horrible when it came to updates on my site. Even promoted pages were not indexed (I don’t want to say never, because I never waited long enough to find out. I was constantly teaching that dumb thing where pages are that match a keyword.

I got the feeling to work on a clone for your Website and not a custom search engine. Or they took the word “search” to literally and thought, right search, nobody said something about finding stuff, didn’t they?

Conclusion: Cool Keyword Cloud feature, customization of layout possible, update of search index sucked. Not recommended unless you are a top 10 tagger.

Yahoo Search Builder sorry, not tested.

Now the Google Custom Search Engine was launched as part of Google Co-Op and in less than 30 minutes (yeah, I like it fancy) did I replace the Eurekster Search Box with a Google Search Box.

What is cool is that Google results are returned on a page on my domain (optional). Eurekster did not provide that option.

Don’t see it as a bonus. All search result links from the customized page at the Eurekster domain to your site except from custom added style and navigation elements are tagged with “nofollow”)

The Google Custom Search is based on Google Co-Op. The Co-Op “Annotation” feature is used as “Advanced Option” for your Search Engine to load tagged URLs into your new Toy. I have not tried that one yet.

The option to get the result displayed on a specified page on my site was cool. The second page that is specified as results page simply has a second piece of code that must be added to the code of your site.

The Search results page always shows Google Ads. Yes, you can use your AdSense ID and get a piece of the pie. You have only a few choices where you can tell Google to show the Ads: Right, Top and Right, Top and Bottom, end of choices.

There is a checkbox to turn them off altogether that states:

“My search engine is for a 501(c)(3) non-profit, university, or government agency website, and I do not want advertising on the results pages.”

I guess I need to check the Terms again to find out how much I am obligated to have the Ads on.

You can specify some color options and you are ready to go.

Other features: Collaboration. Have either friends or everybody mess with your search engine. You can make it private and invite up to 100 people to mess with your toy. You can also accept volunteer requests (or decline them). Or you make it public property and start bedding on each others search engines to see how long it takes until your Custom Search Engine is nothing more than a Custom Spam Engine.

When it comes to look and feel then is Google as generous as always. A few color options and room for a custom logo which is too small to fit anything that you can call logo, including the Google one. I guess the design options come only in one shape and version, the one from AdSense.

Google does not like it if Webmasters take things into their own hands and decide what are pretty and what not. Thank you.

Another feature is the ability to use Google’s pretty new AJAX search APIs to display results. I have not played with that yet to tell you more about it at this point.

Let’s see how good Google Custom Search Engines for a Single Site are with updating themselves. So far so good … now I have to use it for a little while to provide some more info.
Conclusion: so far so good Google. Cool new Features, lets see how it works over time when used.

About Carsten Cumbrowski

Internet Marketer, Entrepreneur and Blogger. To learn more about me and what I am doing, visit my website and check out the “about” section.

Twitter: ccumbrowski

7 Responses to Google Launched Custom Search Engine

  1. Putch says:

    Upon checking this out, three features stood out:
    1) You can exclude sites that you do not want in the results
    2) You can easily do so using the Google Marker
    3) Anyone can volunteer to help

    So we decided to throw up an experiment to encourage everyone to mark spam sites to be excluded from search results.

    Working together as a community we may be able to radically improve the quality of the search results (or perhaps just get in a blacklisting war?)

    The result is Putch –

  2. Thanks for the comments Putch.

    From being a Wikipedia Editor do I know that fighting the spam will be an ongoing war with the strong possibility to loose at the end (one way or another).

    Once you are a target, there will be no decisive battle to get it done and over with. It will be fighting Guerrilla war-fare with insertions that will not stop. Everybody who is not ready for that has already lost.

    Just a heads up for possible days to come.

  3. Anik Singal says:

    This is really neat! We already put something together for the affiliate industry using that technology.

    – Anik Singal

  4. Hi Anik,

    Cool Idea. Something we should include within Step 2. of the Aff.Mkt.Org. Initiative.

    Don't you agree?

    Anyway, I wanted to signup to contribute, but it does not show the described link to get to that point.

    I don't know if the reason for that are setting on your end or because I have setup a Search Engine myself too.

    I wanted to add,,,, and to the list of sites.

    It would be cool, if you would add them, if you agree that they make sense to be included.



  5. Anik Singal says:

    Hey Carsten,

    I am going to add them now. But I had made a mistake yesterday that is now fixed, so you can go apply now and it will work just fine.


    Anik Singal

  6. Cool, I signed up. Waiting for approval.

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