Web publishers can pick which keywords and sites to search, then color-coordinates results to match their motif. Images: Customized search
With the Google Custom Search Engine, announced by the company on Monday, Web site and blog publishers can provide custom results most relevant to their readers, incorporating a site's online community and its ability to provide contextual ads. The customized search engines can also be tailored to aesthetically match any Web site.
The search engine can be customized quickly by choosing keywords and a list of sites the publisher wants included in the search index. These can be the only sites searched, or simply the ones with the highest priority. Alternately, users can exclude sites from the search index.
After entering the information, a line of code will appear. The custom search engine can be hosted on a user's site. Currently, anyone can put a Google search box on their site, but the results are hosted by Google.com.
Instead of the classic blue text on white background familiar to Googlers, Web site publishers can make the search results match the motif of their own site. For instance, a Los Angeles Lakers' blog could return results swathed in purple and gold.
Users can utilize other features as well, but doing so adds more time to the customization process. The custom search product lets new and old AdSense customers combine their custom search results and split the ad revenue with Google.
Custom Search also has the Google Marker tool, which allows sites to be immediately added or restricted from the search index. This tool can be set to allow only the site's publisher to exercise this option while surfing the Web, or invite a few people, an entire community or random visitors to do the same.
Yahoo has its own similar Yahoo Search Builder to let Web users create custom search indexes.
Google says the Custom Search Engine will expand internationally in the next several weeks.