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July 16, 2007

Google Custom Search Business Edition

Google launched a business edition of the Custom Search program that will allow small businesses to add powerful search features for their sites. Google offers the same benefits as in the consumer edition, but also technical support, customization of search results using an XML API and no ads. The service is not very cheap: $100 per year for websites of up to 5,000 web pages, and $500 per year for websites of up to 50,000 pages, but it's much cheaper than other similar services or Google Search Appliance, a hardware solution that creates a local index and lets you search the intranet as well. The most affordable search appliance from Google costs $1,995 for 50,000 web pages. Here are the prices for other hosted site search solutions (* means that the product lets you control the crawling frequency, ** means the search tool also indexes password-protected pages):

Price for a year (5,000 documents)
FusionBot** $2,400
Spiderline** $1,200
Freefind* $948
SiteLevel* $863.78
FindinSite* $720
PicoSearch** $498 (6,000 documents)
Mysitesearch* $239.4
Innerprise* $228
Google Custom Search $100

Because Google uses its index to deliver results for the custom search engine, it can't guarantee it will index a web site or a certain page. Most other products try to completely index the site and let you control how often they re-index the pages.

Google realized that the ad-supported model, that works very well for consumers, isn't an option for businesses, that want technical support, custom-tailored solutions and are willing to pay for this.


  1. How could Google charge a company $100 a year, with the company not being sure their site, or parts thereof, would be indexed or not?

  2. How is this? its totally free.. Powered by Yahoo!

  3. Google has some guidelines for including a site in the search results and you can't pay to be included. The problem here is that Google CSE is just a restriction of Google's global search platform and doesn't create separate indexes. From the TOS:

    << Google makes no representations or guarantees regarding any inclusion of content or regarding the frequency any content will be crawled and/or managed in our indexes. Google does not warrant that the Google service and brand features will meet your requirements or that performance of the service will be uninterrupted or error-free including any errors or omissions in the search results obtained through use of the service. Google makes no warranty that custom search engine will include all domains specified by you. under no circumstances shall Google be liable to you for any amount exceeding one thousand dollars ($1000.00). >>

  4. IBM OmniFind Yahoo! Edition is really cool, but:

    * you don't get phone support (Google offers support)
    * you need an expensive server (Google's solution is hosted)
    * IBM's software uses a pretty weak search engine (Lucene), if you compare it with Google

  5. @Ionut Alex Chitu

    I dont agree with you on the Lucene. Its a customizatble piece of code and i am sure they would have customized it to suit enterprise reqs.

    Their server config seems to be pretty simple. I have installed it on my low end laptop :)

  6. $100 a year is "not very cheap"?? Sounds dirt cheap to me esp considering the functionality.

  7. Probably the most popular site that uses Lucene is Wikipedia and everyone knows that Wikipedia's search is terrible.

    Wiki search for more command
    Google search for more command (restricted to

  8. $100 is considered too cheap for a company! I think those who say it's not cheap just want everything FREE from Google, a freebie-giving-away company. LOL

    Alex's comparison between Wiki search and Google search is nice. It's interesting to see Myanmar Army on Wiki search for "more command". :D

  9. Mike Moran, who works on IBM OmniFind says:

    "You can set up the colors of the interface to match your Web site with no programming experience, and you just need to know enough to drop a snippet of code in the right place on your Web page. There's no server to set up, so even sites with shared hosting can play. (...) Google's new offering seems valuable for those with small sites and no technical skills."

  10. Personally if your company can afford to create a seperate VM for Omnifind then definately Omnifind is the way to go.

    With Omnifind you have more control over what is indexed by the crawler and what results you want to display to the user.

    Your are not overly depended on Google's crawler.
    Also setting up filters for the crawler and the synonyms capability for search make Omnifind more appealing.

  11. I think some people are missing the concept. The free version delivers results via AJAX whereas the $100 a year version, among other things, lets you retrieve results in XML via a REST type system.

    I want the XML/REST functionality but unfortunately the pricing model doesn't work for me. I have a CSE of about 900 regionally local websites that I want to query via REST/XML. How much does that cost? I have no idea how many pages those sites have I a sure the total is in the hundreds of thousands.

    I have used Lucene a bunch and it worked fine for me, the trouble is finding a good spider. Lucene doesn't ship with a spider.


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