14 Custom Search Engine

We discuss custom search engines, and how you can build your own.

Class held on 10/28/2009. (student notes; possible questions).

Class structure

  1. Go through “At beginning of class” information
  2. Explain what custom search engines are
  3. Work on exercises

At beginning of class

  1. Assignments, you, and me
  2. Changes (this topic, this class)

My notes

  1. What is it
    • A search tool that uses Google's search engine (as the back end) but that you can instruct the following ways:
      • Look in a certain list of URLs (pages, whole sites, or subsets of sites)
      • Avoid a certain list of URLs
      • Append a set of terms to any user-supplied query
      • Customize its looks (within bounds)
  2. How can it be used
    • Its own Web page
    • An iGoogle widget
    • Embedded in random Web page
  3. Why would you use it
    • Captures creator's knowledge of the field

In previous years students have explored and learned about several search engines: Topicle, Eurekster Swicki, and RollYO; however, for the last year or so these sites have been completely displaced and dominated by the Google Custom Search Engine so that is the only tool we are going to look at today.

Blog topics

  1. Describe how useful or not Google Custom Search Engine is for your site.
  2. Describe how you chose the sites to include in your custom search engine.
  3. Compare and contrast 2 (or more) different custom search engines.


  1. Topicle
  2. Eurekster Swicki
  3. Rollyo
  4. Google Custom Search Engine
  5. BuildASearch
  6. Yahoo Search BOSS — Build your Own Search Service
  7. 3 Guides to FireFox Quick Searches (Smart Keywords)
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License