Today Google launched a new search service that allows users to restrict searches to groups of specific pages and websites. The Google Custom Search Engine is designed to enable users to create their own customized search engine that focuses on any content they like. These users then can integrate their customized search engine into their own websites, which, in turn, helps their visitors find desired information. I imagine that enterprising individuals and organizations could use this service to create custom genealogy search engines.
The new Google service, which is available at www.google.com/coop/cse, lets users choose which pages they want to include in their index, how the content should be prioritized, whether others can contribute to their index, and what the search results page will look like.
Organizations or individuals can go to www.google.com/coop/cse and select the websites or pages they'd like to include in their search index. Users can choose to restrict their search results to include only those pages and sites, or they can give those pages and sites higher priority and ranking within the larger Google index for their site. Users can then customize the look, feel, and functionality of their search engine.
Google plans to expand the offering internationally in the coming weeks.
For several years Google has had a service that provides custom search engines for a single web site or a group of web sites. I have been using that service to provide searches of this newsletter's web site. You can see this earlier version in action at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2006/01/search_past_new.html. The service announced today is built upon the same idea but adds a lot of new functionality not previously available.
The new service has only been available for a few hours, so I do not yet know of any Google-based customized genealogy search engines available at this time. However, I suspect we will see a few before long.