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Google Shows Custom Search Engine October 24, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Going live last night, Google’s Custom Search Engine allows sites to add Google search and AdSense to their sites and, more important, specify a custom set of sites or sources for the engine to index, creating a vertical search engine. Here’s the ClickZ and New York Times coverage. (Funny, the Times gets Yahoo in its headline. Yahoo’s Search Builder has been out for some time, as has Rollyo’s partner program.)

Like a whole lot of Google initiatives, the Custom Search Engine is a cool idea with precious little support for anybody who wants to try to use it. When I asked how a site could figure out which sources to add, I was told a good way to get started would be to do a Google search on the topic I wanted to cover, and add the results to my custom index. Super-helpful, guys. Low-end sites can add their blogrolls, too!

A company like Intuit — who’s using the engine at its JumpUp small business community site — has the wherewithal and resources to know what to search, but most sites won’t be good at this. Google says it has a tool suite to help sites know if they’re actually delivering the goods. A set of templates and directories would be useful, fellas.

The Custom Search Engine concept is very mash-up-y, and like the all-time greatest mash-up platform, Google Maps, will no doubt produce some good products and some crappy ones. Engines that use the CSE won’t be Google branded, or very lightly, to protect Google from the crappy ones.

AdWord advertisers can opt out of showing their results on the coming hybrid engines.

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