Google Inc., the world's top provider of web search and online advertising, said on Monday it is offering small business websites a service that lets visitors search for information within their sites.
The Mountain View, California-based company said Google Custom Search Business Edition, as the new service is known, is a service hosted on Google computers that starts at $100 per year and does not require businesses to run Google ads.
"If you have a website, we already crawl your website," Nitin Mangtani, a product manager in Google's Enterprise division, said in a telephone interview. "Now we are saying you don't have to manage search within your site."
The new service marks a middle option between Google's existing Custom Search Engine, a free, ad-supported service, and Google Appliance, a hardware device selling for prices starting around $2,000 which customers manages on themselves.
The free, ad-supported service lets visitors search for information inside a particular website but cannot be customized.
The Google Appliance lets companies using the device offer their customers the ability to search both publicly available data and secure data the company wants to remain on its own site but to which it wants to grant its customers access.
Google Custom Search Business Edition requires a three-step sign-up process that takes about 10 minutes and requires the business to embed a bit of code on their home page. Potential customers include millions of small business sites.
For $100 a year, the Google service lets customers within a specific site search up to 5,000 pages within a specific website. For $500, it searches 50,000 pages.
Google will host websites of any size on a sliding scale. Justia.com, a website that allows the public to look up court documents in U.S. state and federal cases, is paying $15,000 a year to search roughly 1 million documents on its site, Mangtani said.
The service runs on the same computers Google uses to run its public search services. In effect, Google is simply serving up a sliver of the data is has already crawled of the publicly available information across the web.
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