Friday, October 27, 2006

Google builds a search engine for me

I'm easily confused whenever anyone starts talking about vertical search. I know this stuff is important. And I know that databases full of "rich data" help pay the bills at many a B2B publishing company.
But the truth is that I'm a word guy, not a data guy (although I recognize that Adrian Holovaty is right to believe that the two worlds are merging into a new form of journalism.) And when someone starts talking about vertical search, my brain goes numb pretty quickly.

But even someone as uninterested as I am in the subject knows that something remarkable has happened in the last few days. Google has unveiled a new service called Custom Search. In a nutshell, it allows anyone to download a vertical search application for their site and then choose what it will include.

Russell Perkins, who runs InfoCommerce Group, is the king of databases and directories. In an email newsletter to clients, later posted on his blog, he said "Google Custom Search, which is built off the Google Co-op platform, in essence creates a filtered look at the main Google index, so you can combine the breadth of the Google search engine with your own expertise about which sites are most relevant to a specific topic. It’s a powerful combination, and did I mention, oh so easy. Google even remembered monetization this time: AdSense ads surround the search results, but Google will happily pay you a percentage: just check the box on the set-up screen."

Russell decided to give the Google service a try... and installed it in about 30 minutes.
Take a look at the InfoCommerce site. The new vertical-search box is on the left-hand side just below the first screen.
Matt Mullen, a B2B journalist and blogger, was even faster. He installed it in 20 minutes (no shame on Russell. Matt is younger)
Click here to see the box on the upper right-hand side of Matt's blog.

Heck, when something is that easy, and that valuable, how can someone not add it to a site? I may even build a search box myself if I can find a few free hours (I'm just being realistic about the time required. I'm older than Matt, and have a shorter attention span than Russell.)

For more on Google Custom Search, check out CNET's coverage here.
Click here to see what IDG's Colin Crawford has to say about the service.
Click here to read Rex's thoughts.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Paul,

    I really don't think you will need an hour. Setup is easy; the key is working on the engine to make improvements.

    One of my ideas is to have it give priority to my del.icio.us site, making it easy for my engine to find articles I've tagged to be of interest to my blog readers. I'll keep you posted as I experiment more.

    Matt

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