A few weeks ago I made an embarrassing admission to several of my colleagues. Rather than relying on Macworld.com’s built-in search engine, I admitted, I tended to use Google to search our site, adding
site:macworld.comon to the end of whatever I was searching for.
I was a bit surprised at the response I got: many of my colleagues admitted that they did the very same thing.
It’s a stinging indictment of our search engine as well as a ringing endorsement for Google, which has never really let me down when it comes to searching my own site.
Fortuitously, in the past month Macworld.com has had a chance to work with Google on a new service that the company is launching today. Google’s new Custom Search Engine lets Web publishers and even regular Web users have access to Google’s massive search-engine database.
As a result, starting today, when you use Macworld.com’s search box, you’ll find that your search results are actually powered by Google. The results are still served out of a Macworld.com design, but they use Google’s search engine to scan for pages on Macworld.com, as well as our other sites: MacUser, Playlist, and Mac OS X Hints.
I’ve been testing this feature out for a few weeks now, and I’m very happy at the results I’ve been getting. Even better, another feature of Google Custom Search allows us to label certain kinds of our content, so you can narrow your search more readily. For example, you can click on the word Reviews at the top of a search result page and Google Custom Search will automatically narrow your search to articles we’ve defined as being reviews. And the same goes for news, and blogs, and much more.
There’s a whole lot more that Google Custom Search can do that we’re not taking advantage of yet. In the coming weeks and months I think you’ll see us add more features and customize it even further. And if my experience in implementing Google Custom Search is any indication, I would expect to see it become used all the time, all over the Web.
We’ll get there, but those are all issues for another day. In the meantime, I encourage you to give our new search engine a try. I will freely admit that since we’ve begun using a custom search engine for Macworld, I haven’t once had to resort to typing
site:macworld.cominto Safari's Google box.