November 20, 2007 11:06 AM PST

Google Custom Search goes global

Google Custom Search goes global
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Google's hosted search service for business users has been extended worldwide for the first time.

Previously available only in the U.S., the Google Custom Search Engine platform lets users add Google search capabilities to their Web sites. A free, ad-supported version is available but the paid-for business edition gives administrators more support while allowing greater customization.

"For many organizations, a Web site is their window to the world and significant investment goes into attracting customers to the site," said Google's European enterprise director, Roberto Solimene, on Tuesday. "Keeping visitors on a site once they arrive, however, is a challenge, and the absence of a search facility can be a major cause of a lack of Web site 'stickiness.' By improving the ease, speed, and accuracy with which users can find what they need, businesses can ensure their Web site justifies the investments made."

Both the Custom Search Engine free edition and business edition provide hosted search capabilities, obviating the need for installed appliances. They also provide reports to help administrators monitor usage behavior.

The business edition, however, adds the option of e-mail and phone support from Google's enterprise group. It also adds the choice of whether or not to include advertising, and allows results to be fully customized using an XML application programming interface (API). This customization extends beyond the appearance of the results to allow the highlighting or blocking of results from specified sites.

There have been two implementations of Google Custom Search Business Edition in the U.K. so far. One user has been Parliament, which recently started using it to make its nine million documents more accessible to the public. The other has been Monarch Airlines, which claims that integration of the application has reduced in-bound customer e-mails by 30 percent as customers search for answers to their questions about baggage regulations and airline security, rather than asking the airline directly.

The business edition of Google Custom Search Engine starts at around $103 per year for searching up to 500 pages. The annual charge for searching up to 300,000 pages is around $2,308, while those wanting to support larger volumes of pages need to speak directly to Google's enterprise sales group.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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Step Ahead to Mobile Custom Search
Google is surely taking the digital world by storm, as its stock price trades at more than $741 with $231 billion in market cap. Simply Google search, as we traditionally conceptualize the company, is no more. It has become a conglomerate with tentacles reaching on the realms of software, advertising and mobile tech.

According to Google's website, the company's mission is to 'organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful'. This is the reason why the company continues to procure hip startups or savvy media firms for its organize-the-world portfolio. It has swoop the web 2.0 media-related enterprises ----youtube, doubleclick, picasa, etc.

It is no-brainer ubiquitous mobile communications technology is the future. The IT industry knows this and so does Google. The main problem is the variation of incompatible proprietary solution and market strategies that holds a tight grip on consumers. Telecom carriers has the last say on the apps embedded into their product offerings.
Google visions a ?universally accessible and useful' communications system through open source. Mash-up of traditional media and communications --- TV, radio, newspaper, advertising and telephone ? available through the internet and harnessed by a powerful platform to interface these capabilities at a touch of a button. Google?s recent announcement on its Linux mobile software, Android, allows hardware and software makers to adapt freely. With this latest innovation in mobile software solutions, IT analysts are expecting rapid innovations because carriers will no longer have sole control over their products.
The company has also been on the move to implement an online networking standard, OpenSocial. It allows sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook to create applications for MySpace users. Google has also announced a $900 advertising partnership with MySpace and other websites owned by News Corp.'s Fox Interactive Media. Indeed, Google is creating footprints across market niches online and beyond.
With the 700 Mhz band of spectrum auction on January 2008, the whole industry is highly speculative on Google?s next move. Clearly, the company has showed interest with FCC?s open access framework policy. Ultimately, Google will prove to be an aggressive bidder.
A powerful ?700 Mhz spectrum + mobile software Android + WiFi ? equates to an explosive breakthrough in the history of Information Technology and Communications (ICT) market. It is not impossible to imagine the possibilities of online advertising in an on-demand information mobile super highway. Users can access free information along 700 Mhz frequency and WiFi technologies which includes advertising program by Google. This agenda is akin to internet and television advertising with a mobile twist.
If course, not everyone is happy with such imminent change. Google has amassed quite a number of detractors/critics on its trail namely:
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said, ?[Google] efforts are just some words on paper right now, it's hard to do a very clear comparison [with Windows Mobile].
Nokia?s OS Symbian vice president of strategy, John Forsyth said, ?Search and a mobile phone platform are completely different things. "It's costly, arduous and at times a deeply unsexy job of supporting customers day by day in launching phones. That's something there's very little experience of in Google's environment.?
Verizon senior vice president, John Thorne said ?The network builders [Verizon or at&t) are spending a fortune constructing and maintaining the networks that Google intends to ride on with nothing but cheap servers"

Verizon spends billion of dollars to construct a fiber-optic network around the US and internet services companies such as Ebay, Google or Yahoo uses it for free.

Have we reached the pinnacle of web 2.0? Is the bubble about to burst? Not quite yet. Google has yet to prove its strategies in action. The past years has been an accumulative effort to gather the best of the best in online technologies. The next five years will be crucial on how information will be rendered ?universally accessible and useful.'

If Google pulls through gPhone+ 700Mhz Open Access + WiFi + ETC (minus worm glitches), we can envision customized/personalized mobile devices.

And by the way, let's stop remarks on Google taking over the world. It's rather 'tired' and they've stated their agenda of a universal information delivery to us five billion-something inhabitants. Let's just cheer on to Google saying, "Yahoo for Google!" ;->

- Some excepts from my previous blogs at
Posted by Felisita Cheung (14 comments )
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