Create a search engine with schema.org types
March 24th, 2014 | by Custom Search Team | published in Google Custom Search
March 24th, 2014 | by Custom Search Team | published in Google Custom Search
December 10th, 2013 | by Ewa Gasperowicz | published in Google Custom Search
Did you know that a topical search engine can help your users find content from more than a single domain? You can use your expertise to provide a delightful user experience targeting a particular topic on the Web.
There are two main types of engines built with Google Custom Search: site search and topical search. While site search is relatively straightforward – it lets you implement a search for a blog or a company website – topical search is an entirely different story.
Topical search engines focus on a particular topic and therefore usually cover a part of the Web that is larger than a single domain. Because of this topical engines need to be carefully fine-tuned to bring the best results to the users.
A nice example of a topical search engine is Kritikos – a search engine for visual media relevant to higher education developed by the Engineering Department at Liverpool University. Developed in its pilot phase exclusively for Engineering students, Kritikos is now able to add new academic subjects simply by changing one line of code in the API call.
Kritikos is using a mix of Custom Search tuning techniques to find the most relevant results and then matches the results with the data stored in the local node of the Learning Registry. The additional data is displayed as an overlay in the search results page, providing valuable reference for the engine’s users. This method allows Kritikos to also include a social mechanism into their results – e.g. it is able to show users votes or comments about the usefulness of particular resources. Here is what Andrew Green, the Technical Director of Kritikos from the University of Liverpool says about the project.
In developing Kritikos, we wanted to build upon existing search engines, rather than try and build our own. We discovered that, once we found the documentation, the Google Custom Search Engine API was incredibly easy to use. The call to the API, based on the user’s subject of interest, search terms and preferred media type, is constructed in only a dozen lines of code. The resulting JSON data was easily parsed in order to generate the thumbnail images that give Kritikos its visual impact.
This shows the first 3 results for the term query term “fracture”, as seen by an Engineering student. The icons in the top right corners indicate that other students have interacted with these resources in some way.
Here are the results for the same search term (“fracture”), this time as viewed by a Medical student.Andrew Green
Technical Director, KritikosThe University of Liverpool
You can read more about their adventures with Custom Search on the project’s blog.
From talking to developers working with Custom Search and looking at different engines out there on the Web, I learned a few trends present in many of the solutions. Here they are – a few things to keep in mind when building a topical search engine.
There is a lot of mess on the Internet. You don’t want to distract your users and make them spend time on random sites. The point of making a topical search engine is to make it focused and targeted.
An index is a list of sites – or url patterns – that your engine is operating on. Choosing what should go into the engine’s index and what should be left out is a matter of expected quality. Sometimes even sites that are on topic can be left out of the index or de-prioritized in order to promote other content, that you – the author of the engine – consider more valuable to your users.
The usability rule – Don’t make me think – plays nicely with topical search engines. You build the engine to make your users life easier, finding the information faster and more efficient. Usually your engine is functioning in some particular context – it is included in a topical website, it is addressed to some specific audience etc. You can apply this context to the search process, to make your users more productive and happier with the experience. There are a number of techniques that allow you to add context to your users’ queries – for details check out the Topical CSE article on Google Developers site.
Search does not need to be boring. You can add all sorts of fireworks to your search results – custom design, non-linear browsing experience, user interactions or displaying additional data.
Google Custom Search allows you to change almost any aspect of the presentation layer of the results – as long as it is not misleading to the users.
Structured data is gaining more and more momentum on the Web. It is a way of expressing real-world concepts in a machine-readable format – for example information about places, events, businesses etc. It already powers some of Google’s products and features, like Rich snippets, Knowledge Graph panels or Google Now cards.
You can harness the power of structured data in a topical search engine by filtering results by a schema.org types and properties or creating your own custom rich snippets.
Stay tuned, we will post more about the integration of Google Custom Search and schema.org standard soon.
In the Advanced Topics section of developer’s documentation, you can find an article about creating a Topical CSE. It describes in more detail the techniques needed to obtain the results discussed in this blog post.
If you have an interesting topical search engine and would like to share it, give us a shout at twitter at @googlecse, we’d love to see what you came up with. Happy coding!
October 21st, 2013 | by Custom Search Team | published in Google Custom Search
Today, we’re introducing another tool that is hopefully intuitive as well as interesting : You can discover hundreds of sites to include in your CSE starting just with keywords! For example, for a CSE on “global warming”, adding keywords like [pollution], [global warming] and [greenhouse effect] can lead you to discover global warming related sites within minutes.
This tool attempts to combine Google’s knowledge with the topic expertise you have – Google suggests sites, but you can control the topic expansion, and guide the tool towards your topic in a fine grained way.
The tool is accessible off of the New Search Engine page on the Custom Search control panel. Give the tool a whirl, see more details on how the tool works in our documentation, and let us know what you think on the product forum.
Posted by: Vivek Sahasranaman, Custom Search Team
Update: As of October 2015 this feature is no longer available.
September 12th, 2013 | by Custom Search Team | published in Google Custom Search
March 13th, 2013 | by Custom Search Team | published in Google Custom Search
We hope you enjoy the new look!
January 16th, 2013 | by Custom Search Team | published in Google Custom Search
Simplicity and speed are two principles we love when it comes to design at Google. Today, we’re excited to announce the new CSE layout that displays results in an overlay, on top of any content on your page.
What this means for developers:
What this means for your users:
You may visit W3Schools to see the new layout in action or use the CSE below which searches our blog.
Try out the new layout by creating a new search engine. It takes less than a minute. Once you have your search engine snippet ready, simply paste it on your website.
Posted by Manolis Kounelakis and Neelesh Bodas, Custom Search team
August 3rd, 2012 | by Custom Search Team | published in Google Custom Search
Custom Search Engine (CSE) allows you to incorporate rich search functionality into your website. You do this by adding specific HTML markup – known as the Custom Search element – to web pages on your site. The Custom Search element renders a search experience (search boxes and results pages) on your site’s pages. By controlling the placement of the Custom Search element on your pages and configuring your CSE settings, you can create customized layouts that are tuned for the look-and-feel of your website.
We’re happy to announce today a new, improved version of the Custom Search element. Here are some of the key highlights and improvements of what we call Custom Search element v2.
To start using Custom Search element v2 on your website, go to the “Get code” section of the CSE control panel and follow the instructions shown there.
We’ll continue to support older versions of the Custom Search element for the time being but encourage you to update your CSE implementation to take advantage of the improvements.
Posted by Ying Huang, Software Engineer
June 15th, 2012 | by Custom Search Team | published in Google Custom Search
As we continue to improve the look and feel of Google Custom Search Engine (CSE), today we’re announcing a change in how ads are displayed on CSE search results pages.
Currently ads in CSE results are shown in a separate section from organic search results labeled “Ads by Google”. With this latest change, the ads section will also have a distinct background color, in keeping with the visual style of ads on the google.com search results page.
Because CSE allows you to choose from one of several built-in styles, the ads background color is different for each style to contrast in a visually appealing way with the default background color. (Note that if you customize the main background color, the ads background color will automatically match it to avoid clashing.)
The following screenshots illustrate what a user performing a custom search on a website might see, for two of the built-in CSE styles.
This change in design provides users another way to distinguish ads in CSE search result pages.
CSE publishers will see these changes effective immediately. As always, please let us know any questions or feedback in our discussion forum.
Posted by MyLinh Yang, Product Manager
May 9th, 2012 | by Custom Search Team | published in Google Custom Search
Using Custom Search Engine (CSE), you can create rich search experiences that make it easier for visitors to find the information they’re looking for on your site. Today we’re announcing two improvements to sorting and filtering of search results in CSE.
First, CSE now supports UI-based results sorting, which you can enable in the Basics tab of the CSE control panel. Once you’ve updated the CSE element code on your site, a “sort by” picker will become visible at the top of the results section.
By default CSE supports sorting by date and relevance. In the control panel, you can specify additional “sort by” keys that are based on the structure of your site’s content, giving users more options to find the results that are most relevant to them. For example, if you’ve marked up pages for product rich snippets, you could enable sorting based on price as shown below:
Second, we’re introducing compact queries for filtering by attribute. Currently you can issue a query like
which will only show pages with a ‘product-description’ attribute that contains both ‘search’ and ‘engine’. With a compact query, you can issue the same request as:
We hope these new features help you create richer and more useful search experiences for your visitors. As always, if you have any questions or feedback please let us know via our Help Forum.
Posted by Roger Wang, Software Engineer
March 12th, 2012 | by Custom Search Team | published in Google Custom Search
We’re excited to announce that starting today, we are providing a new results style that’s more modern and streamlined, based on the evolving Google design and experience across Google properties.
This look will be the new default for new custom search engines, and admins of existing custom search engines can also choose this new style by visiting the Look and feel page of their CSE’s control panel and selecting “Default” in the Choose or customize a style section. The old default remains an option, but has been renamed to “Classic”.
In addition to the new style for results, we’ve also updated the search box and made autocomplete more robust and consistent with the standard Google autocomplete. Note that this update affects all CSEs that use the Element so, in some rare cases, site owners who have made customizations to their CSE search box (or who have enabled autocomplete for their own search boxes) may need to make minor updates to accommodate the new search box’s slightly different look.
We hope you and your visitors enjoy these updates. Let us know what you think in our discussion forum.
Posted by: Dana Bright, UI Designer
February 14th, 2012 | by Custom Search Team | published in Google Custom Search
Last year we added image results to Google Custom Search Engines to enable sites to offer image-only results that showcase photos and other digital images. For site owners who want more flexibility in presentation, they are also now available…
February 2nd, 2012 | by Custom Search Team | published in Google Custom Search
Good news for Google Site Search owners who manage multiple Google Site Search engines! You can now share query quota between paid GSS and free Custom Search engines.
This may be useful for you if you pay for a quota with Google Site Search and you’d like to share that quota with your Custom Search engines. To do this, add those extra engines to a “business group” to share the quota.
To add CSEs to a business group, visit the Business Group page of your GSS’s Control Panel. Click Add and you’ll see a list of the free CSEs that you own or that have been shared with you. Select the free CSEs you wish to add and click OK. All group members will immediately share the quota of your GSS.
We hope you’ll find this much easier than trying to estimate your quota needs for each of your individual search engines. To learn more about Business Groups, please visit our help center. Let us know what you think in our discussion forum.
Posted by: Yong Zhu, Software Engineer
January 24th, 2012 | by Custom Search Team | published in Google Custom Search
January 13th, 2012 | by Custom Search Team | published in Google Custom Search
The Custom Search engineers spent 2011 launching great features. But we still hear from our users that our documentation could do with improvement. We hear you. Today we’re launching some updates to our docs:
Documentation is an ongoing effort, and we’ll be continuing to improve both our Help Center and our developer documentation. If you have comments or suggestions, we’d love to see them in our user forum.
Posted by: Riona MacNamara, technical writer
December 9th, 2011 | by Custom Search Team | published in Google Custom Search
Custom Search Autocompletions allow you to add to the list of useful queries users see as they type in the search box. Today we are announcing two major improvements.
Promotions in Autocomplete:
Promotions are a great way to call special attention to a result by putting it at the top of search results and making it visually distinct. Now you can choose to display them in autocomplete too. To enable this feature, simply click Show promotions in autocomplete in the Promotions section of your CSE’s Control Panel. Note that promotions based on regular expressions or the $q variable will not appear in autocomplete.
If you’d like to have promotions that appear in autocomplete but not in search results, you can add them via the new Autocomplete Promotion tab of the Custom Autocompletions in the Autocompletion section of your CSE’s Control Panel.
Match mode give you options for how Google displays autocompletions. The following are now available in the Promotions section of your CSE’s Control Panel. Changes to match mode will require you to update the CSE code snippet on your site.
We hope these new options make autocompletions even more useful for your site. Read more about Promotions in Autocomplete and Match mode. Let us know what you think in our discussion forum.
Posted by: Min Zeng, Software Engineer