Google’s Custom Search – a take on social search?

I’ve been playing with Google’s Custom Search engine lately. In short, it lets you build custom search engines around a given topic. You can create your own search engine around toys, HDTV, restaurants, travel Web site — whatever interests you. It’s not a new idea; Rollyo and Eurekster have been doing similar things for a while. What makes this significant is that Google is doing it and the combination of the Google index, customization tools and monetization.

In about 10 minutes, I was able to create my own search engine about the search industry. It searches a number of blogs including Search Engine Watch, Kedrosky, Battelle and Zawodny.

Google makes it easy to create and customize the engine using a series of Web forms. I entered a list of sites I wanted to search, picked a name and filled in a few other fields. You can customize it further with an AJAX interface. You also get a cut of the ad revenue generated by the search engine.

You can also invite others to contribute to your search engine. I can see a lot of applications for group research projects. It also has the potential to throw buckets of ice water on any startup looking to pitch a vertical search engine to VCs.

One thing I would love to see is alerts on the custom search engine — when one of the sites I watch writes about a topic I’m interested in, I’d get an alert.


About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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5 Responses to Google’s Custom Search – a take on social search?

  1. Hi there.

    Can you please tell why Google blocks users from accessing their own customized search sites? I created on here –

    Their terms and conditions just mention a very vague description ‘Harming Googles interests’.

    Now how can one come to know that what exactly harms Googles interests, and in what sense? Esp when the custiomized search engine does not point to any bad or illegal content links, still Google believes that way..!!

    Shame on Google. Their feedback system is pathetic.

  2. Paul Codman says:

    If you are interested in publicising your CSE you may want to be an early bird submitter at our CSE links directory at – your submission will include as long a description of your CSE as you wish together with relevant keyword lists, both of which you will be entitled to edit and keep up to date if you register as an Editor. You can also add new CSEs as you build them. All Editors will also have permission to rate and comment on other CSEs thereby constantly improving the overall quality of our visitors’ experience. The site will officially go live on Thursday.

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  4. I’ve written a guide to using free tools available on the web to assist you in improving your small business (or equally, for non-profits and the like). It’s available on my site at

    Google Custom Search is one of the tools I have leveraged for this guide. One of the things I find most interesting about this is where Google will go next with Google Coop. Like you said Rocky, I see lots of other applications here for group research and collaboration.

  5. Panos says:

    You can also submit your cse at which is niche directory for cse created with coop.
    It is free of course.

    We hope it will be helpfull

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