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June 13, 2007

Super-Powerful Custom Search Engines

Google's custom search engines have received a huge upgrade. Now when you add a site to your search engine, you can also include all the pages linked from that site. So even if you use the custom search engine only for a single site, you can transform it into a whole ecosystem of pages relevant to your site.

All you have to do is choose the option to "dynamically extract links from this page and add them to my search engine" for your site. You have three options: include only the individual pages linked from your site, include the subdomains or the entire sites, even if you only link to a page.

If you don't have this feature you can test it at this page or in this blog's search box.

A search for "Safari" returns the homepage of Apple's browser and a site that offers a way to preview a site in Safari before my post about Safari and that's a fair enough. That post linked to both sites that are ranked higher.

The feature has already been available in Lijit, a site that let you "easily create your own search engine, which searches your blog, blogroll, bookmarks, photos, and more", but now it's a simple option in Google Co-op. Here are the results for "Safari" in a custom search engine built using Lijit.

You can use this for feeds, directories or for sites that collect a lot of interesting links. Bloggers could dig deeper in their archives and rediscover useful links, while readers have more comprehensive search results.

An important drawback is that if you enter the homepage of a site, Google will retrieve the links only from that page, even if it will continue to monitor it for new links. Also the search seems to be somewhat slower and the results may appear diluted.

But, as the Custom Search blog says, lazy people can rejoice. "If you have a blog or a directory-like site and don't feel like listing all of the URLs you want to search across, you can leave the work to us. With this new feature we'll automatically generate and update your CSE for you."


  1. This might be neat for wikis -- users, by adding new links to a particular wiki page, are now also automatically "editing" the CSE.

  2. inspiring , just used that on my blog ,

  3. Lijit actually offers something quite a bit beyond what is offered by Google.

    - Lijit will automatically detect other services you use (such as or LinkedIn and automatically include the those pages in your search engine. So whenever you bookmark a page, it is added to your engine. See it in action on my blog, for example.

    - Lijit will automatically detect your blogroll and include those blogs in your search engine. (And any bookmarks and such from those people too.) It can also include blogs and people from various social sites like MyBlogLog and Delicious. Facebook is coming soon. See my profile page, for example

    - Lijit also offers publishers very detailed stats about how people are using their search engines. See my stats page.

    The new CSE feature is exciting, but for the lazy blogger Lijit offers even more functionality. That's my opinion, but then I am a bit biased. :)

    CTO Lijit Networks

  4. Great! Now if someone creates a tool that automatically lists all your google Reader feeds you could finally search all those posts. This should e working even better than Rau's script

  5. How much do I love Google? Automagically detecting new resources and adding them to my Google CSE - now if they could just come up with something along the lines of automatic housecleaning.


  6. @tobi:

    No, actually it won't. The problem is that a CSE (custom search engine) uses Google's index, so you won't be able to search in something I posted 2 hours ago. Usually it takes days until a post is indexed by Google, so it's not the best way to implement search in Google Reader.

    The search feature should use Google Blog Search and should modify the ranking based on your preferences.