Google Custom Search Engine and the Long Tail of Search

October 24, 2006

Today Google has launched Google Custom Search Engine and Matt Cutts has a rich post about it worth reading.
The parts I liked most are copy and paste below:

  • you can apply a boost to the sites you choose, with regular websearch as a backfill.
  • there’s a bookmarklet (Google Marker) so that if you’re surfing the web and find a site you’d like to add to your search engine, you just click and that site is instantly added to your search engine.
  • take your feeds and export them as an OPML file, then get the blog urls (not the feed urls), and add those urls into the custom search engine. you get a custom search engine covering your entire feeds
  • I think that this launch could kick off a wave of search over a long tail of niches; rather than a big vertical

The combination with feeds looks very interesting. For example, a simple variation would be to build a “Being John Malkovich“-kind of search engine by getting OPML files from others e.g. from Share Your OPML and build a custom search engines to search their sources of information; which should give you some kind of insight in their minds about particular topics.

Borrowing from the movie’s tagline: Ever wanted to be someone else? Now you can.


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