Google Custom Search Tweaked

June 3, 2008

After goosing the Google Mini, Google has made some changes to its Custom Search Engine Business Edition program. The biggest change is dumping this wacky name and replacing it with GSS for Google Site Search. Regardless of the name, Google offers cloud-based Web site indexing.

The service allows a Web site administrator to use Google’s Web indexing system to index a Web site. The GSS gets date biasing which uses a tiny bit of Google’s time functionality. The idea is that you can now put newer information at the top of a results list. This is not true time stamping, but it’s better than the chronologically-challenged results lists that Google has imposed on its users for a decade. GSS hooks into Google Analytics.

GSS is not free. You can put up with ads on your site index. Alternatively, you can pay the GOOG $100 for a year of service for indexing up to 5,000 pages. Go over that amount, and you have to pay more if you want more pages indexed.

Techmeme has a useful series of links on this subject here. You can read more at ComputerWorld here. The story is here. The Ecommerce Times story is here.

The impact of this change is modest, but it has four implications. First, Google can add features to GSS at low incremental cost. For example, Google has technology that allows a participating site to send XML “instructions” to Google. A Web administrator might use this type of “push” to program the behavior of the GSS engine, which is separate from the public Web index. Code widgets can allow other operations as well. Second, the appeal of a low-cost, no-hassle approach to indexing a Web site is significant. This is not a new idea, but it is the first time that a company with Google’s brand power has make this type of service available on such a broad scale. Scale is the differentiators. Third, today’s user of a Google cloud-based service like Web site indexing becomes tomorrow’s prospect for more robust data management and information services. Fourth, vendors of search and retrieval software have one additional pressure point being touched by the GOOG somewhat less gently than before.

Think of this as a digital variation of a long-term, upsell opportunity.

Stephen Arnold, June 3, 2008


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