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Build Your Own Google-Powered Search Engine

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the a-goog-to-call-my-own dept.


eastbayted writes "Google has unveiled a free program called Google Customized Search Engine that lets users tailor a search index to their content specifications, InfoWorld reports. You can select keywords for the index, as well as which Web sites will be included or excluded in the search. You also may customize the look and feel of the engine. The trade-off? When you implement the index on your Web site or blog, it will be populated with Google text ads via Google's lucrative AdSense Program. On the plus side, you do get paid for click-throughs."

cancel ×


Will create a lot more spam sites? (4, Interesting)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16558588)

Sounds like a fantastic product for people who have a legitimate use for it. However, I wonder how many additional 'all spam' sites will be created as a result (e.g. those that have no content other than google ads, links to paid advertisements, etc.).

Re:Will create a lot more spam sites? (4, Insightful)

EVil Lawyer (947367) | more than 7 years ago | (#16558618)

Probably not many more than currently exist. Right now (before this new product), it's very easy to set up a nearly all-spam site with Google's AdSense. Google requires only a modicum of content before approving a site to show AdSense ads. This new search engine implementation will probably not drastically change the threshold for setting up an ad-only site.

Re:Will create a lot more spam sites? (4, Informative)

bshver (605026) | more than 7 years ago | (#16559974)

Google requires only a modicum of content before approving a site to show AdSense ads
Actually, Google already doesn't require any content at all before setting up an ad site if you use their AdSense for Domains [] service. This has been around for several years according to the FAQ, so I don't think a new search service is going to change much with respect to sites that do nothing but serve ads.

Re:Will create a lot more spam sites? (4, Interesting)

crazyjeremy (857410) | more than 7 years ago | (#16558808)

This would make it easy to see all the sites that the spammer is affiliated with. Then you could simply filter out most of the domains in his search umbrella.

Re:Will create a lot more spam sites? (2, Insightful)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16559270)

My first thought when coming to /. to post was that this will bring new life to the parked domains business. All those typical words and word combos that have been sitting there with pitiful link lists on them can now become real search portals. This might actually make them useful though. Go searching for "kitten mittens" and you'll probably soon get a top google result (or maybe even yahoo) for with a search of all pet, cat and novelty item stores and blogs, etc. which may actually help you find what you're looking for more quickly.

Re:Will create a lot more spam sites? (1)

badspyro (920162) | more than 7 years ago | (#16560884)

It may cause the entire polar oposite, a load of targeted search engines designed to fileter out this kind of thing... I sure know thats what I'm about to use it for.

Re:Will create a lot more spam sites? (1)

vindimy (941049) | more than 7 years ago | (#16562738)

those are called 'web farms' and those are usually 100's of sites that have single owner and they all look similar and serve you with useless advertised links. google's been high on those lately but i hope they're working on that issue.

Google should buy.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16558614)

with all those new software projects from google, the company is just tring to diverse developers from hitting its search engine. Which is all that google has.

Google Mini? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16558650)

What are the differences between this and having your own google mini? Aside from the fact that google profits through text-ads. I assume the differences are many.

From the article... (5, Informative)

bazorg (911295) | more than 7 years ago | (#16558762)

To enroll in the Google Custom Search Engine program, go to

Re:From the article... (1)

FofR (697088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16560824)

I have created a Wiki only search that I am hoping will evolve to include a lot of wiki sites. The search is open to volunteers wishing to add wiki sites and I will be monitoring submissions. I feel this will give a great fact finding resource and a quick and easy ability to find pages with information that go into a much greater depth than Wikipedia currently does.

The URL is here: 2%3Anxp0gaipa40 []

Current sites include:,,

The search looks only within the specified sites. So any wiki site submissions will be excellent.

as long as the user understands the biases (2, Insightful)

romit_icarus (613431) | more than 7 years ago | (#16558768)

Obviously there are two level of biases here - a. restriction to certain domains b. restriction to certain keywords.

To a user it can be useful: it allows for a focused search. Say you're an industrial engineer and want to constrain your search to a topic. But what's critical to the credibility of google is a way for the user to *know* the biases before using the engine! (4, Informative)

crazyjeremy (857410) | more than 7 years ago | (#16558778)

There's a little site out there called Rollyo or Roll Your Own. It works similarly to this and has been around a while. [] limit of 25 sites (1)

Basho (23847) | more than 7 years ago | (#16559360)

I took a look at when it first came out, and it has a nice early Web 2.0 feel about it, but it was limited to just 25 sites in a 'Searchroll'. I can see that being useful in some cases, but for me it was way too restrictive.

I've just created a really quick and dirty Google custom search with 249 Toronto Photoblogs (shamless plug 88935%3Ahixzfwm7k6y [] ) in about a total of 5 minutes. Sure I need to make the page look pretty, etc... but WOW it was easy, and the result set looks exactly what you'd expect from Google.

I couldn't find the maximum # of sites that Google will let you include, and the maximum # to exclude... Anyone find the limits?

Rolios! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16560434)

Rolios! Rolios for my bunghole! \_(o_O)_/

sounds like htdig (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 7 years ago | (#16561122) [] , no google ads either, custom search pages can be designed indexes updated etc. no google widgets here required.

Aghhh (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16558822)

All your informations are belong to us.'s Macros? (1)

stinkbomb (238228) | more than 7 years ago | (#16558874)

Who is stealing from whom in this case? Microsoft has had something very similar on their Live [] site for a while now.

Kind of redundant (0, Offtopic)

InMSWeAntitrust (994158) | more than 7 years ago | (#16558882)

Isn't this a bit redundant? Don't all high-traffic sites already have their own search, or already have Google's search in them? And a good many sites already use AdSense, so this seems a little odd that Google is searching the deep dark depths of the internet to get their search and ads. But OTOH, this seems perfect for non-high traffic sites that don't have AdSense, but get enough clicks so that a little revenue wouldn't hurt. An interesting move, nonetheless.

Re:Kind of redundant (2, Informative)

kurtis25 (909650) | more than 7 years ago | (#16559336)

The goal is to search more than one site: Ie on (not a real site) you can use this to search, & and, (now that you wasted all your time at work and lost your job) by using one search box and having Google style results. It solves the problem of needing to use the site: function on sites whose search is worthless, ( This tool would have saved my time in College and grad school I used the same dozen or so sites for all my research (sorry library you loose) and wasted much time switching back and forth between their search results. Using this I can create my list and do one search and get my results. I can easily share and apparently rate them. Since many of my fellow students used the same sites the group functions would be useful and so would the labels. This will be a powerful tool for the right people especially in the education and research fields. With the right setup it could be used to prevent search results that end the websense screen of oppression (by oppression I mean safety and healthy work environment). If I restrict the results to exclude those sites search results will be more useful.

Re:Kind of redundant (1)

PSdiE (643639) | more than 7 years ago | (#16587250)

You have a loose library? I never thought fornication and books mixed ...

Re:Kind of redundant (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#16559372)

Isn't this a bit redundant? Don't all high-traffic sites already have their own search, or already have Google's search in them? And a good many sites already use AdSense, so this seems a little odd that Google is searching the deep dark depths of the internet to get their search and ads. But OTOH, this seems perfect for non-high traffic sites that don't have AdSense, but get enough clicks so that a little revenue wouldn't hurt.

Even if a small-ish site does have some native search capability, the odds are pretty good that they don't have the ability to index PDFs and other stuff that Google already handles so well. I think I'll give this a try on some of my smaller project sites and see how it behaves - it might spare me from re-inventing the wheel or having to deal with manual keywording database links to binary files. The AdSense revenue is just frosting on the cake if you're already signed on anyway.

Re:Kind of redundant (1)

thisislee (908426) | more than 7 years ago | (#16559986)

Google site search is only free to non-profits. For smaller sites or larger ones that don't feel like paying, this is a good solution for internal search as long as they don't mind adsense.

This is great! (1)

x-vere (956928) | more than 7 years ago | (#16558932)

This is a great idea! This will empower web site owners to add another dimension of functionality to their websites. Customized search engine. It will provide an avenue for those providing a service to help visitors get more specific search results for thier queries and providers benefit. Sure Google benefits from it with text ads, but you as well benefit. This is part of the brilliance of Google. "You get more from it than we do." You get an additioanl service on your website that is unique to your site and you get a little somethin' somethin' for click revenues. Google, just gets theirs from the click revenues. I would do this.

Opting out of the AdSense requirement? (1)

EVil Lawyer (947367) | more than 7 years ago | (#16559026)

In most cases, participation in the program is required if you opt to use the Google Custom Search Engine. ... "Universities, non-profits and government organizations can choose not to run ads on their search results if they'd rather not," according to Google.

Could a site simply declare itself a not-for-profit operation, and opt-out of the AdSense requirement? Or is Google going to require 501(c)(3) certification or some similar legal status?

Not just about AdSense (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16559030)

I don't think this is just about getting more AdSense ads out there.

If you look at the example given in the article, it says:

Web sites already taking advantage of the Google Custom Search Engine include, a site focused on providing expert opinion about the science of climate change. "They have created a searchable subset of the Web to provide reliable scientific information to its visitors," according to Google.

So am I the only one who sees how Google can also apply this to ranking websites within their index?

Great for reviews (3, Interesting)

EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) | more than 7 years ago | (#16559108)

Trying to find reviews of stuff is a real pita on any search engine, you'll usually come up with "buy it for $$$" results. Even if you used all the necessary search filters in google like "-buy -purchase -stock" etc you'd still end up with annoying shop stuff.

I'm currently working on my own version that searches through review sites based on a whitelist approach of only approved sites here [] . If people want to give me some help on this i'd appreciate it, that way we can filter out all of the spam sites and focus instead on only the good stuff.

Re:Great for reviews (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16559944)

Great idea. I was trying to find "neutral" reviews for video cameras the other day and Google just returned loads of sites trying to sell the cameras.

Re:Great for reviews (1)

Aluvus (691449) | more than 7 years ago | (#16562578)

You may want to try Retrevo [] , it's meant to be specialized to finding reviews. How good it is, I couldn't tell you.

Re:Great for reviews (1)

Tarqwak (599548) | more than 7 years ago | (#16568976)

Same idea but the other way - excluding known shopping sites [] , 150+ of them

site: anyone? (1, Insightful)

nstlgc (945418) | more than 7 years ago | (#16559152)

Is it just me or is this just a little sugar on top of their site: search keyword?

Re:site: anyone? (3, Insightful)

iceanfire (900753) | more than 7 years ago | (#16560816)

does site: let you search more than one site?

Re:site: anyone? (1)

modeless (978411) | more than 7 years ago | (#16571758)

Yes. []

See also -inurl:(foo|bar|baz) as used to great effect by Give Me Back My Google [] .

To be fair, this new service is a much better way of going about these things.

More "Scraping" (3, Insightful)

hagrin (896731) | more than 7 years ago | (#16559250)

Although in the minority I'm sure, I look at Google as the largest scraper of content there is. If you think about it, they give users snippets of your original content and then take that content and use it to deliver targeted advertisements before the user even clicks on your content.

Now, enter the same business model, add some revenue sharing and a whole bunch of smaller players with their own domains armed with CSS stylized IFRAMES and you will see the "authoritative portal/directory sites" grow pretty quickly. As someone who creates his own unique content (with no ads currently), moves like this do make me think twice about the future of search and creating content for other people to scrape and profit from. Sure, I understand the point of "without the search engine no one would ever find my site", but at some point content creators have to worry about others profiting off their efforts (/end violin playing).

Re:More "Scraping" (2, Insightful)

dslauson (914147) | more than 7 years ago | (#16561906)

If you add up every cent that Google makes from search-related advertising, and then gave every site they index their "fair" share based on how many times their site was displayed in their search results, I bet your blog (or whatever) would get pennies on the dollar, if even that. It's a different business model than traditional media, and per-site compensation just doesn't make sense.
    Google is compensating you, instead, by driving people to your site. From there, the task of making money is up to you.

Re:More "Scraping" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16566958)

I think that you're missing the point of the parent. If I'm reading the parent correctly, making money off his site is not the issue - in fact, the parent is offering his content ad-free. What the parent is driving at is that Google and now anyone creating an AdSense laced custom search engine can profit off the freely distributed content of others.

This reminds of those who profit off of open source by repackaging the code, selling their own branded product and profitting off the freely distributed work of others. IMO, those who freely distribute content and who want to keep that information "profit-free" have every reason to be concerned. (5, Interesting)

jrmiller84 (927224) | more than 7 years ago | (#16559314)

Maybe now I can finally make it to stop showing me results from when I'm looking for tutorials! (1)

thetroll123 (744259) | more than 7 years ago | (#16561800)

Yes, you could filter it to only access instead, depending on what it is you want a tutorial in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16563122) (1)

jrmiller84 (927224) | more than 7 years ago | (#16567048)

I actually use the "" search criteria quite a bit but I don't really ever think to use it to get rid of sites. I typically have quite a few in mind that I don't want to see, it's just that always fools me into thinking I've found a good resource and then BOOM! 100$ membership fee to look at the resolution. There's enough great free information out there. (1)

attackiko (170417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16566146)

Maybe now I can finally make it to stop showing me results from when I'm looking for tutorials!

I'm looking forward to it too. It really annoys me when that site shows up when I'm looking for Expert Sex Change..

Give power back to the website owner (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16559356)

What would be really interesting is if they implemented a new meta robots tag where you as a website owner could decide which of these search indexes will get to list your site results. This way you could get off the standard google results pages and concentrate your results through an affiliate search portal or negotiate with other search portals for the right to list your website. Would allow non-mainstream stuff to really find their audience and vice versa.

For Desktops? (2, Insightful)

m0nstr42 (914269) | more than 7 years ago | (#16559422)

It would be nice to be able to use this kind of customizability for desktop search.

Sounds like Macros from windows live search (2, Insightful)

schngrg (590418) | more than 7 years ago | (#16559550)

Competition does results in more 'innovation' from everyone.

Google made MS 'innovate', MS made Google 'innovate'.

Re:Sounds like Macros from windows live search (2, Informative)

Utopia (149375) | more than 7 years ago | (#16560614)

Thats what I was thinking too.

Here is the Live Search [] 's Macro site for those who don't know:
Live Search Macros []

Social Search (1)

CNeb96 (60366) | more than 7 years ago | (#16559574)

I can see the value of a social site like digg, delicious, or slashdot providing the list of pages for a personalized search from domains of popular past stories (or bookmark submissions) automatically. Filter out the noise of the internet automatically by only searching only your favorite pages and optionally add the pages of 1000's of like minded individuals your site attracts. Then Google gets a whole new set of data about the popularity of sites to take and put back into their main index. Social story submission, social bookmarking, and now social search.

I just set gave this a try this morning... (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#16559760)

... and it's all Googly. That is to say, the implementation is quick, but a little too Googly, in terms of weaving the results into your own web site. Of course you can limit the search scope to your own site, and the results are right there (and of course very fast)... but interestingly, though I regularly see Google crawling my dynamicly rendered content, very obvious searches that should bring that stuff back aren't showing up in the results. It's the same problem content people always have in getting search engines to like everything on their sites.

In other words, it's very easy to graft this tool onto your web site, but you may have a lot of more advanced websmithery ahead of you to actually get Google to successfully index everything on your site. And, of course, it's not going to help people find some document you just put up this morning... Google's indexes can be off by days at least, and often weeks.

A well-crafted built-in search tool, and good keywording habits by the people producing the content are more likely to get your own visitors finding material on your own web site. But if you open up the Google engine's scope to include other web sites, they'll get a lot more info to pick from... if you don't mind those eyeballs wandering off, never to be seen again.

Re:I just set gave this a try this morning... (1)

Hiro06 (1019676) | more than 7 years ago | (#16627368)

I set up a custom search engine for heavy metal music. Very easy. The hard part is finding the blend of sites to make my site useful for visitors. []

Attempt for Slashdot comments (2, Interesting)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16560054)

I attempted to create one specific to Slashdot comments. I don't like Slashdot's built in search for anything but articles. Unfortunately slashdot blocks the indexing of pages at / (probably to prevent duplicate content, thereby helping their SEO). But it does work well for my site documenting the best Slashdot comments [] . So please give it a try [] and let me know what you think. What I'd really like to know is if it's worth adding slashdot's article URLs even though it'll then search the summary's text as well. Also if there are any other sites which should be included.

I tried the site integration code but the search form submission seems to conflict with my CMS. So a custom page outside the execution of a CMS may be required for some sites. (1)

phildog (650210) | more than 7 years ago | (#16560144)

So you mean if I have some old domain lying around that I've never used, I could create a custom google search engine in under an hour and put that domain to work?

Wait, I guess I can :-) (1)

winnabago (949419) | more than 7 years ago | (#16561170)

Hey, I get a blank page. What am I doing wrong? (1)

phildog (650210) | more than 7 years ago | (#16562062)

What browser? what OS? It is working for me here with WinXP and IE 6.0.29 and FF 2.0.

Email me at if that is easier than slashdot comments threads for support. (1)

winnabago (949419) | more than 7 years ago | (#16576430)

Yeah- FF 2.0 on XP doesn't produce any results at all. It's strange to me too, but I didn't mean to make anything of it. Just thought you might be interested. It could be the call from the text box - it looks like Google isn't getting what I type in. Here's the returned html when I type in "test":
<!-- Google Search Result Snippet Begins -->
<div id="results_006484545198767812489:x4pqfbwj4he"></d iv>
<script type="text/javascript">
var googleSearchIframeName = "results_006484545198767812489:x4pqfbwj4he";
var googleSearchFormName = "searchbox_006484545198767812489:x4pqfbwj4he";
va r googleSearchFrameWidth = 500;
var googleSearchFrameborder = 0;
var googleSearchDomain = "";
var googleSearchPath = "/cse";
<script type="text/javascript" src=" ch.js"></script>
<!-- Google Search Result Snippet Ends -->
</html> (1)

sc00ch (254070) | more than 7 years ago | (#16561700)

Interesting. Similar Pages turns up pages from every domain, is that a feature you can turn off or modify? (1)

phildog (650210) | more than 7 years ago | (#16562356)

I don't see anywhere in the Google control panel where you can turn it off. But I'm not seeing anything called "Similar Pages" when I do searches. Where is this? (1)

sc00ch (254070) | more than 7 years ago | (#16565920)

Next to every result for me, see below. You click similar pages and it searches the rest of the web...

Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters
From the article: "During the development of Mac OS X, Apple polished the existing ... Apple modernized its existing Mac APIs into Carbon, which would run ... - Similar pages

Tuning domain specific search without upfront cost (3, Insightful)

Amitz Sekali (891064) | more than 7 years ago | (#16560176)

Google will be able to harness people's specific expertise to fine tune google's domain specific search, without signing any contract with anybody. That means less administrative and financial commitment, less legal headache, and less legal fees. And because of the adsense program, Google only pay, when Google got payed.

Brilliant, fucking brilliant!

New search, same AD spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16560392)

A search for linux on yields:
Buy & Sell Linux
Reach 203 million buyers globally.
Start selling on eBay today!

lol :)

Sample (2, Interesting)

loconet (415875) | more than 7 years ago | (#16560672)

Here is a sample installation [] . Use the search box at the top.

Terrible Terms of Service (3, Interesting)

ChaosDiscord (4913) | more than 7 years ago | (#16560962)

The Terms of Service [] are terrible. Section 1.5 says that Google is your exclusive search service. No offering Google and Windows Live to your users. Maybe no providing your own htdig service. It's Google or nothing. Of course, section 1.2 is the ever popular, "we can change this at any time without notifying you, and if you keep using the service you agree to the new terms without even knowing they exist." Of course, these are basically the same terms that Google Free [] offered. It's really frustrating; I'd like to use Google Search to give visitors to my job's web site a better search engine, but those terms aren't reasonable for a business.

Will it search members-only forums? (2, Interesting)

objekt (232270) | more than 7 years ago | (#16561288)

I belong to a few forums that require member registration to browse. As a result, you can't use google normally to search the forum. Can this be used or would it make the information be publicly available?

Re:Will it search members-only forums? (1)

se7en11 (833841) | more than 7 years ago | (#16562514)

The new search engine only pulls data from what Google already has. So if Google has the member-only pages, then yes it will include them.

It works almost the same as doing a search like " se7en11 [] " except you specify the sites automaticly and you can include the results on your site.

"Desktop" version (2, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16563306)

I would love to see a "desktop" version of this - i.e. something that can work inside a browser with a plugin or something. In fact, it could probably be done with Greasemonkey...

Imagine being able to type in "NEC 40xx review" and have all the pointless price comparison and fake review sites filters from your results automatically.

Yahoo! (2, Interesting)

Spuddy42 (688236) | more than 7 years ago | (#16563354)

I believe Yahoo! has had something like this for awhile: []

Yahoo's custom search plus adsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16571670)

Nothing creative here. Take the existing google adswords/adsense programs, and use the existing google infrastructure to do searches over sites that google is already indexing. The question is, what took them so long to do something so obvious? Rollyo, yahoo, and microsoft live already do this - but without google's affiliate program. This should have been done a year ago.

You can do it yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16572614)

If you want to restrict to a certain set of domains, use this:

site:domain1 OR site:domain2 etc.

You can craft the search, and then put it in your own html:
<form action="" method="get">
<input type="text" name="q" value="" />
<input type="hidden" name="q" value="site:domain1 OR site:domain2" />
<input type="submit" value="Submit" />

my experiment (1)

jnana (519059) | more than 7 years ago | (#16573774)

Only Quotes [] is a search engine that searches a ton of quotation sites. It's fast -- much faster than any of the 20 or so websites it searches -- and it doesn't return any spam links or links to quotation sites that are slow or low quality.

I think the custom search engine program has a lot of potential for domains that have a relatively small number of high-quality sites, and for which the normal google search is too contaminated with seo-ified crap and commercial junk (which is unfortunately more and more the case for just about everything). I guess google will probably use the data from the custom search engines to determine high-quality sites for given domains of knowledge. But then how long will it be before the spammers and seo types start creating custom search engines that search only their spam sites?

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