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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.’