Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Google offers personal searches... thanks to BBC.co.uk

A bespoke search engine that can be included on people's websites or
blogs is the latest offering from Google.

Google Custom Search Engine, as the tool is known, allows users to
choose which webpages to search.

Users can also customise the look of results, how web content is
prioritised or add paying adverts to the results.

Groups using the program include climate science site RealClimate.org
that searches a subset of the web it believes is scientifically

Focused search

"RealClimate.org is a site that tries to give credible expert opinion
on the science of climate change," said Dr Gavin Schmidt, a climate
modeller at the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York
and a member of the organisation.

"Unfortunately, since this topical subject has become rather
politicised, the quality of information available on the web is very

We want to make it easy for anyone to create a search engine about all
of their favourite topics
Marissa Mayer

The custom engine on the organisation's website only searches pages
that have been scrutinised by climate scientists and are deemed to
provide "solid and reliable information".

"Hopefully, it will allow users to get to the good stuff faster,
without some of the confusion that currently occurs," said Dr Schmidt.

Users wanting to make use of the tool log on to a Google "Co-op" page
where they can specify a list of websites to search.

The search engine can be set up to search the entire web but emphasise
the chosen sites, or search only the specified pages.

The custom application can also be used to create a search engine that
just focuses on a person's own site.

Cashing in

Users can also specify whether or not the tool uses the Google AdSense
program to generate advertisements from search terms.

Advertisers pay Google every time someone clicks on these adverts.

In turn, users who choose to use Adsense on their custom search
engines will also receive a "portion" of the amount paid to Google.

Organisations like RealClimate.org for example do not use Adsense.

The search engine does not disclose the exact amount users will
receive. However if an "earned balance" is less than $10 (£5) Google
will not pay up.

Early adopters of the application include dedicated Apple magazine
Macworld and JumpUp.com that provides resources for small businesses.

"We want to make it easy for anyone to create a search engine about
all of their favourite topics," said Marissa Mayer, vice president of
search products and user experience at Google.

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