We’ve been hard at work making improvements to the Google Custom Search Element that will enhance the look and feel of search results when users type into your custom search query box. You’ll see some of the fruits of these labors starting today. We’ve just launched a set of templates that take advantage of rich snippets markup to provide customized results layouts for specific structured data. Your markup can enhance the display of structured information in addition to enabling the powerful metadata features, such as Sort by Attribute and Restrict to Range that we released last year.
For example, there’s a Review template that will show ratings and expand on-demand to display reviews within a result as shown in the screenshot below:
This specific treatment is used when you use hreview and hreview-aggregate Microformat markup on your pages. Template rendering changes are automatic if you use the Element.
Templates that we now support include: People, Product, Recipe, Organization, Review and Review Aggregate. Try these out at our demo search site. Here’s an example of a Recipe result, using a custom theme.
For more information on markup that you can use for Google.com and Custom Search, please refer to our documentation. Don’t forget that we also support image thumbnails and actions. Further, if you are marking up your pages, you can verify that we recognize the right attributes by using our Rich Snippets Preview Tool.
We are constantly adding support for additional markup formats, so stay tuned. We’re continuing to add innovative features to the Element to help you turbo-charge your Custom Search results presentation.
In the past several months we’ve added several new features to Google Custom Search – and we have you to thank! More than a year ago, we told you about a new Google Custom Search Product Ideas page, and since then you’ve voted thousands of times on all sorts of great ideas for improving the product. That doesn’t even include the stellar suggestions we get on a regular basis in the help forum. In fact, query autocompletion was a help forum suggestion from swoodby that’s now available with just a few clicks in the Control Panel. We’re thrilled that we have this productive feedback loop with you, and want to report back on some of the product iterations we made during the past year.
Wireless data consumption has more than doubled every year, so we’re happy to have added mobile search features to the product. As requested on the Product Ideas page, users can now search on your website using their mobile devices. The default homepage for your custom search engine is now optimized for your on-the-go users. We will continue to optimize Custom Search to meet the needs of a growing mobile user base.
In response to your requests for metadata capabilities, we launched a set of features to support structured custom search. You now have the ability to filter by attributes such as author, define attribute ranges such as dates, and sort by specific attribute values such as ratings. We plan to make these metadata features even easier to use through the Custom Search Element, which generates code that you can copy and paste to easily add Custom Search to any website.
You’ve also made it clear from your feedback that you love customizing your search engine and adding your own flair. So, over time we’ve made it possible for you to tweak the layout of your results, customize your synonyms, control autocompletions, and apply custom styles to your search engine. Now it’s even possible to select a theme for your ads.
What’s the moral of the story here? Your mic is on and we’re listening. Keep the feedback coming in the help forum (the Product Ideas page is closed for now) and we’ll continue working to make Custom Search better. After all, it’s really your product.
Wouldn’t it be nice to just drag and drop a Custom Search box onto a website?
We thought so, and so did Go Daddy, the world’s largest domain name registrar and top web hosting provider. Website owners using Go Daddy’s WebSite Tonight product can now easily drag a search widget onto their web pages, and instantly turn on high-quality website search powered by the Custom Search platform.
WebSite Tonight is a do-it-yourself service that lets users create, design, update and publish websites without requiring any knowledge of HTML. The product offers 1,500+ design templates and enables users to very easily add widgets to their web pages. WebSite Tonight was named for its ease of use – users can create a website as quickly as one night.
Here’s how you add Custom Search to your website in WebSite Tonight:
Step 1: Select “Google Custom Search” from the list of available widgets
Step 2: Select a predefined search theme to match the style of your website
Step 3: Drag and drop the Google Custom Search box to the desired location on your website
Step 4: Search! Google search results appear within the Go Daddy website
Go Daddy also integrates with Google Webmaster Tools as part of the Google Services for Websites program. As Go Daddy automatically submits Sitemaps to Google, changes to websites are quickly discovered and indexed by Google’s crawlers, thereby improving search quality on both the individual website as well as Google.com.
Ease of use plus better performance — we like that combination. We hope you also like the concept of drag and drop search. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback.