Google Releases Free Tool to Customize Web Searches

Google Inc. (GOOG) is ready to let Web publishers and bloggers create custom searches on their sites, in a move that could make searches more relevant to consumers and allow the company to charge more for advertising, Google said late on Monday.

The Internet search leader said the new Google Custom Search Engine relies on the same underlying database of Web sites to allow companies or individual users to set up personalized online searches — on topics ranging from global climate change to gossip on pop stars.

"This is really a way to make your own version of Google search," Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president in charge of search, said in a phone interview with reporters.

• Click here to visit's Home Computing Center.

The announcement, which executives said was one of the biggest it will make this quarter, came after shares of the Web search leader set a fresh lifetime high of $480.78 on Monday, following a strong quarterly financial report last week.

The Google Custom Search Engine is the company's biggest push yet to rely on "the wisdom of crowds," where rival Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) and start-ups such as and have focused for several years.

"It is basically applying human judgment by saying I can make search better by allowing people to decide," said Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li.

Google is moving beyond the formula-driven, one-size-fits all way it indexes the Web to a relativistic approach for finding sites. The move also points toward a balkanization of what different groups of people see on the World Wide Web.

Details can be found at It is set to be available on international sites in a few weeks.


The service allows users to choose which pages they wish to include in a tailored Web search index, what the search results will look like on their own Web sites and whether other users can contribute their own favorite links to the index.

Search results are derived from Google's constantly changing database of billions of sites. Custom Search Engines generate revenue through Google's existing AdSense advertising revenue-sharing program with Web sites, the company said.

Universities, government organizations and recognized non-profit groups will be given a choice of whether to run ads alongside their search results, or not. Commercial users will be required to carry Google ads to pay for the free service.

Customized Web search should result in more relevant search results for specific users, which in turn is likely to entice advertisers to pay more as ads can become more targeted, officials of the Mountain View, Calif.-based company said.

Privacy is protected because Google hosts the searches on its own computers. Custom-created sites do not receive access to database logs showing specific user searches, they added.

Sites employing custom search can choose whether users see results only from their site, from a select list of related Web sites, or across tens of thousands of others. They may also give priority to certain sites over others, in contrast to Google's classic page-rank system based on popularity.

Intuit Inc. (INTU), the company behind Turbo Tax and Quicken personal finance software, is relying on Google Custom Search on a new site it is testing called that helps new business owners connect with other business owners., another site testing Custom Search, only links to sites it deems to offer credible expert opinion on the science of climate change, bypassing highly politicized sites.

"Custom search engines empower communities everywhere to organize their own information and make it searchable," said Shashi Seth, product manager for Google Custom Search Engine.