Google launches customizable search engine

New free tool lets users build vertical search engines for their sites, plus earn a share of the ad revenue.

Debuting this week, Google Custom Search Engine enables users to create their own search indexes consisting only of sites they select. Options include restricting 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 customize the look, feel and functionality of their search engine. As well, Google offers a collaboration feature so users can choose to let others whose expertise they trust to contribute to their customized search engine. And users will share in revenues generated from Google AdSense search ads.

Adoption rates for this initiative may accelerate in light of new research from comScore indicating that millions of consumers want specific, and often local, information from online portals, rather than randomly searching for information via search engines. The comScore report focused on online yellow pages searches in the US, and found that about 68 million users searched the Internet Yellow Pages searches in July of this year – a 46% increase over 2005.