Not a day passes by when someone or the other bemoans the fact that they cannot find anything on Google anymore. Well, they can stop complaining, because Google is doing something about it. The company has announced Google Custom Search tools, which allow anyone to simply […]

Not a day passes by when someone or the other bemoans the fact that they cannot find anything on Google anymore. Well, they can stop complaining, because Google is doing something about it. The company has announced Google Custom Search tools, which allow anyone to simply roll their own vertical search engine. Now think of Google Custom Search as Rollyo, on a Google scale.
The new tool allows you to pre-define sources whose content you want to search for, and it also gives you tools to keep adding sites in the future. Since the search can be hosted on either Google servers or your own, you can actually customize the look and feel of the search page, and embed Google Adsense and other advertisements. (Google has been offering something similar as part of its Google Mini effort, but that is more enterprise focused.)

It is a clever idea on Google’s part. By getting folks to build their own vertical search engines, the company is trying to blunt the efforts of some of the VC funded vertical search engines. It is also using “people’s power” to fine tune their own search index. My inner cynic thinks this is – distributed search optimization effort.

However, the problem is that they are not giving any real incentive for people to do that. The share of Adsense bounty is just the same as on a plain vanilla site. It should increase the payouts to the search builders. They are getting more focused search results (hence higher click throughs for their ad), so why not share the profits with folks who are doing the heavy lifting.

The emphasis here should be on getting more and more people to build these specialized micro search engines. Mike Arrington is not going to waste his time for peanuts, but make it a good deal, and I bet he can build what could be the most accurate Web 2.0 only search engine.

Hey if they can buy YouTube for $1.65 billion, how about spending some moolah for the ‘search builders.’

Update: Search Engine Watch has an interesting take on this.

  1. Michael Griffiths Monday, October 23, 2006

    Ok, so it’s news.

    I’d prefer to see an analysis comparing the tool – or its goals – to identical offerings from Yahoo! (Searchbuilder) or Microsoft (Search Macros). What does the fact that Google is introducing what sounds like a less developed feature set after its two main competitors say about Google? etc and so on.

    Otherwise, you’re just copying and pasting.

  2. This is the most significant product from google this year and will have a direct impact on its bottomline

  3. Michael, isn’t that exactly what I said. They need to sweeten the pot in order to make this work, otherwise not going to happen. Of course, the issue is bigger than that – the search is getting clouded and that’s not good for them.

  4. Just created my custom Google search engine using their custom search tool

    check it out

  5. Pimp Your Google Search…

    Google on Tuesday will announce a way to customize your Google searches through a new feature called Google Co-op: Build and customize your own search engine * Specify the sites you want to include in searches. * Place a…

  6. Neuer Coop-Skandal!…

    Eine Innovation zweiten Grades ist zwar nicht neu, aber dafür besser als alles bisher Dagewesene. Das jüngste Beispiel dafür stammt wieder einmal von Google, ist besser als Rollyo, Eurekster oder Yahoo und heißt Google Co-op. Ein Schelm, wer dabei …

  7. Om,

    This is just letting the the folk get at the metadata build (in the old days – c 2004 – it was called a Folksonomy ;), or “McTagging”

    I agree with your analysis re Google though…this service raises a “what value do they add” question, compared to using something like say Dogpile, and then configuring a relevance vertical on top of that…and then who gets to show the ads?

  8. For a ‘naive’ Google user, I don’t really see the new customn search engine being a great pull. It’s one more thing for the user to do, after all. Personal Search/search over your search history is a different matter, where your search history inform your future search results. (After all, if i have to visit a site to bookmark it, why not let google just remember that I clicked through to it previously.)

    searchfeedr (website link above) offers a different approach, whereby you can reuse other link collections to provide either a page or domain limited search. FOr example, you can limit your search to domains listed in an RSS feed, or tagged in a particular way on a delicious user’s account; or even use the links contained within – or that link to – a particular page.

    Like Rollyo, the number of domains you can link to are limited – but how many people look past the first page of results anyway?

    Another advantage fo searchfeedr is that it is a search engine intermediary – page/domain limited searches can be made on one of any number of search engines (at the moment, you can choose to pull results from Google, Yahoo, Windows live or altavista).

    Add to this the abilty to save search profiles to a delicious account, from where saved searches can be pulled back in to you searchfeedr page, and the new Google offering seems – well – a bit dull really ;-)


  9. 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 – http://www.putch.com

  10. This seems like an obvious development to me and I’m not sure why they’ve just now come out with it. I’d think someone would have dropped this little app out in a single day using their 20% time for personal projects. I still think what’s missing in search is a viable social search function that integrates authority and expertise to someone’s rating (http://www.emergingearth.com/social-networking-tagging/). Why should a 12-year old’s opinion of a website on stem cell research carry the same weight as a senior geneticist at the Mayo Clinic?


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