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Google Offers Custom Search Engine


By hagrin - Posted on 24 October 2006

Google has finally announced their custom search engine tool which allows users to build their own search engiens and then customize the search results. This tool allows users to specify search engine results to meet the requests of users looking for specific topic related results.

What does this mean for people who use Google now? Honestly, not much. The real world applications I see are that websites will use Google's custom search engine to power search results on their own site; however, they will tailor results to push their content to users. To be honest, although it makes search easier, searchers using the appropriate search operators could yield similar, if not more objective results. Although Google allows for social interaction in developing customized search results, I can't see how allowing anyone to develop an offshoot search engine will ever create the type of community that could really drive more accurate, efficient results.

I will tell you what this means though in the near future - portal scraper sites powered by Google setup by the average user. How so you ask? Google allows user sto setup custom search engines, but also add their Google AdSense code to the results. Knowing that, webmasters can create specialty topic sites, create a custom search engine, add their AdSense code and then profit without creating any unique content (edit - as I have been reading today, no API is needed since webmasters can use an IFRAME and then their site's CSS to stylize and seemlessly integrate customized search results).

Before anyone tries to hammer me over the definition of a scraper site (displaying other people's content as your own) and they say that SERPs aren't really scraping, I would argue that Google is the ultimate scraper site and this customized search engine only enables the same business model on a much smaller scale. Think I'm off my rocker? Well, read Matt Cutts' proposals for creating industry leading niche search engines. He talks about how someone could be first-to-market, create an industry approved and leading search engine and then profit share the ad revenue with Google meanwhile Google nor the webmaster has created any unique content while displaying targeted advertisements.

All in all, it's good to see Google opening up their search results to the public to be modified and fine tuned, but we'll see this application's real impact over the long-term.