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Adobe's CS4 gets Google search boost

Using Google Site Search, Adobe Systems is linking customers to relevant content that comes from other Web sites. The feature is built into CS4 applications.

Google's search-ad business is a money machine, but every now and again the company manages to squeeze out a little revenue from other parts of its business. And on Wednesday, Google announced one such deal with another Silicon Valley power, Adobe Systems.

Google Site Search lets customers endow their Web sites with a customized search engine derived from Google's broader index, and Adobe is using it in two ways, said Nitin Mangtani, Google's lead product manager for enterprise search.

First is Adobe's new Community Help search site, which presents search results from thousands of Adobe-selected sites. There are plenty of sites with Lightroom development presets, Photoshop editing recipes, Flash programming tips, and other such information, so if successful, the Adobe site--in beta for now--could be a more effective way to dig up what's online.

Second, that community search ability is built into Adobe's new CS4 suite of applications for image editing, illustration, video production, and Web site design. Adobe already had moved to an HTML-based help system, so extending to the Community Help site was probably not too complicated.

Google has thousands of customers for Site Search. It's available as a free, ad-supported service, but customers also can pay for ad-free, Google-logo-optional versions costing $100 per year for indexing up to 5,000 Web pages or $500 per year for up to 50,000 pages.

Adobe fits into a higher-end category to accommodate the higher volume of search traffic and the millions of indexed pages, Mangtani said, but declined to share terms of the deal.

Update 3:50 p.m. PDT: Adobe wouldn't comment on the terms of the deal either, but it did supply some more information.

For one thing, here's how it picked which sites to index: "We asked experts in the community--prominent bloggers, training partners, book authors, etc.--which URLs do they keep handy in their bookmarks folder? We also have a few favorite sites of our own that our doc writers and tech leads visit regularly," said Mark Nichoson, product manager for Adobe Community Help, in a statement. "We don't include the Adobe Store or marketing info...and we don't include every Adobe-related site on the Web. Our goal is to ensure access to the most relevant, high-quality sites so that users can get the answers they need, no matter where those answers may be found."

More than 3,000 sites are indexed so far, and Adobe encourages the public to suggest others that should be added.