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.
Until now, CSE has had a simple collaboration feature that lets the owner of a custom search engine invite friends or colleagues to contribute sites, and assign labels to these sites. This was useful in expanding the scope of a search engine, but beyond expanding indexing, it limited what collaborators were able to do.
Starting today, we’re replacing the current collaboration options with more powerful shared administration features. Through Admin accounts, a new tab in your control panel, you can now invite collaborators to become shared administrators. Admin accounts have capabilities similar to those of the owner, but they cannot access the Make Money (advertising) tab or create additional admin accounts.
In line with these enhancements, we will be removing the Collaboration tab in a month. In the mean time, as an owner of a custom search engine, you can easily migrate existing sites from the Collaboration tab to your search engine definition and, if you like, upgrade existing collaborators to Admin accounts to give them shared administrator privileges. When we remove the Collaboration tab we will automatically migrate all sites but will not automatically upgrade all collaborators to admin accounts – so if you do want to keep existing collaborators on your site we recommend you migrate them today, or you can add them back manually later.
We hope you’ll find these shared admin capabilities more powerful. Let us know what you think in our discussion forum.
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.