Web site owners can now take advantage of custom themes and improved metadata support for their Google Custom Search Engines.
Google (NSDQ: GOOG) on Monday plans to introduce several new features for Google Custom Search, which gives Web site owners the ability to offer site visitors a Google Search box that searches only a specified set of documents.
Custom Search Engine creators now have access to Custom Search Themes, which alter the way Custom Search implementations look. Custom Search Themes provide a menu-driven way to change fonts, colors, and the background of Custom Search Engines. They also allow for the modification of promotion settings and interactive event handling, such as tabbing and mouseovers.
Google is also expanding its metadata support for Rich Snippets in Custom Search results. Rich Snippets take structured data on Web pages and allow that data to be rendered in search results.
Publishers who include metadata markup on their pages and use the Element presentation method can now have Custom Search results promote specific actions described in metadata code.
In this Custom Search example, Web publishing site Scribd.com has added links to Custom Search results that download e-book content and provide thumbnail views of e-books.
Previously, searchers would have had to click through a search link to get to the Scribd Web page to do this.
Ideally, having these actions available on the search results page, rather than on the page to which search results link, leads to a better user experience.
Google is also providing a way to restrict Custom Searches with specific qualifiers, so that the searcher does not have to add those qualifiers in his or her query.
For example, a publisher's Custom Search engine could restrict search terms to include only titles by a particular author.
Finally, Google has created a Custom Search Wikipedia skin, which provides a way to use Google to search Wikipedia articles through a new search interface and a way to conduct contextual searches -- searches of pages linked to the page you're on.
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