Mountain View, California -- To mark last week's third anniversary of the launch of Google's Custom Search tool, the search giant has just rolled out a small number of improvements for its Google Custom Search products, including a new set of themes, improved use of rich snippets in custom search, and a new Wikipedia search. Web site owners can now take advantage of custom themes and improved metadata support for their Google Custom Search Engines.
The numerous enhancements, which went live yesterday evening, enables Web site owners the ability to offer site visitors a Google Search box that searches only a specified set of documents. In addition, it allows registered Wikipedia users to apply Google Custom Search to their Wikipedia searches, to obtain only results that are relevant to the encyclopedia page they are reading.
For example, a car-racing publication could have a Google engine on its site that delivers only results related to that topic.
Moreover, Google also released six new themes for Google Custom Search. All six themes can be customized by changing “fonts, colors, backgrounds, promotion settings, as well as interactive features such as tabbing and mouse-overs,” the company said.
Google Custom now features 6 themes. (Credit: Google)
Users can also define where the search box and results should appear. All the themes will run concurrently with Google's Mobile Custom Search, which the company launched last week. That service allows users to access a site's Custom Search from Android phones, the iPhone, and Palm Pre.
The new application options include displaying a single- or two-column page, in addition to what Google refers to as a “compact” layout for pages reached from mobile devices.
Google is also reviving its metadata support for Rich Snippets in Custom Search results. Rich Snippets take structured data on Web pages and allow that data to be rendered in search results.
Publishers who insert metadata markup on their pages and use the Element presentation method can now have Custom Search results promote specific actions described in metadata code. This new option would enable users to search for information by specific attributes, rather than use general terms, the company said.
For example, if a Web publisher has provided “author's name” as an attribute in the app's metadata, then users can search specifically for a particular author and view only the results matching that query, the company said. Google's aim is to make finding specific content easier, but only those “specific attributes that the page content has specified via metadata markup” can be used to tailor results, the company said.
Finally, Google has built a Custom Search Wikipedia skin, which provides a way to use Google to search Wikipedia articles through a new search interface and a way to conduct contextual searches -- searches of pages linked to the page you are on. From then on, Wikipedia's search field will be replaced with Custom Search.
Using the Custom Search Wikipedia skin requires Wikipedia users to login to their Wikipedia account.
Google's Custom Search is on display in Wikipedia. (Credit: Google)
Google's new Custom Search features are available now. If you wish to avail more information about the changes made to Custom Search, check out the site's blog here.