CSS SearchPublished 16 years, 7 months past
This morning I got word in my RSS feeds that Google has launched what they call “customized search engines” through Google Co-Op. As a test, I created a CSS search engine. Go ahead, try it out.
There are two ways to configure a custom search engine. One is to search the whole web but emphasize the sites you list. The other is to search only the sites you list. While the second might seem to be overly restrictive, the first doesn’t really seem very useful, at least for a CSS search engine. When I compared the “CSS search” to “Web search” results, they really didn’t differ all that much—in some cases, having the same ten results on the first page, but in a slightly different order. On occasion, the “Web search” ordering was actually more useful.
So I set up the CSS search to be restricted to the sites I listed, which I thought seemed relatively useful. Only whenever I run the search from meyerweb instead of within Google, I get the “whole Web” search instead of the “only my sites search”, which either means I’m doing something wrong or I’m just too early an adopter. Hopefully it’ll work as intended for you.
Anyway, I’m not about to pretend that the six sites I included constitute the entirety of sites with useful CSS information. Thus, I’ve set up the CSS search to be open to any volunteers. If you have a Google Co-Op account (which I think is just any old Google developer account, such as you might have created for Google Maps) or want to create one, you can add sites to the ‘approved’ list without any say-so on my part. Though I do have the power to boot sites that aren’t relevant, or too far out of date, or that look at me cross-eyed, or whatever.
For those that don’t have or want a Google account, feel free to suggest sites in the comments here. In terms of getting them actually added, you’ll be at the mercy of my free time; but then again, so am I.
Do you have another content language than “en” set in your browser? I experienced the same problem when trying custom search on a browser set to accept German as the preferred language. But then, if the search works fine on Google’s result page itself, that shouldn’t be the problem.
The most interesting feature of this custom search is the ability to set “Refinements”. If you want to have a search option on your meyerweb custom search, to only search the w3c for instance, all you need to do is to set a refinement, and add it as a tag to the w3c page.
Macworld makes great use of this.
I got this up and running for my site earlier today and so far I’m mildly impressed. I went with the second option (only sites I pick) and results seem pretty good. My biggest problem is the lack of real customization they offer. There’s an option to display the results inside your site, via an iframe, but other than choosing colors your options are limited.
There’s three of them now.
1. This one.
2. My one
I’ve found the same problem when trying this – so it looks like a problem on Google’s end.
This sounds quite a lot like Rollyo; have you used it much, and what were your impressions, if any?
I tried it earlier from your site and I got the “my sites” results.
I only got results from two sites so how do I know what the other four are? (Answer to self: try a different search term… one that turns up more results.)
Cool. Er, how?
I get the same problem. I searched for “cell”, and I got results from sites that are clearly not about CSS, like e.g. “www.cell.com”.
No, I don’t know, why this doesn’t work. But sometimes Google just doesn’t do things right. That’s probably it.
Wow, that’s pretty nifty actually.
Ok, sorry for double posting, I just had a thought. http://www.NaarVoren.nl Dutch web design site worth checking out for all Dutchies out there.
Roger Johansson has very good information and tutorials about CSS, alongside his papers on accessibility, technology, etc.
See for yourself.
@pauldwaite – I tried to post this yesterday but the permalink was broken. Here is the link to the Google Coop CSS Search page – http://google.com/coop/cse?cx=011981465838016726163%3Amxtopuyuges
Eric, please consider adding my humble site to your list. Many thanks.
On a lark, I typed in “inheritance”. The google search itself did very well, providing a number of relevant links. The Adsense ads, on the other hand, interpreted the search term in a financial context. Google has some work to do if this is going to make any business sense for them.
Now it seems to work. A search for “cell” gives only CSS-related material. Did you change something?
Add everything linked here, and you’re all set.
will take that pesky drop box off a form field
if google lets you mess around with the form, i’m not sure, i haven’t tried it yet.
I think Google need to get the usability of Co-op together before they can peel off the beta tag. I couldn’t find any way to add a site, and in the end just ended up volunteering to help. :-P
Any ideas on what caused CSS Search to be limited to just the five sites, when it started out searching the Web?
I just set up a Google custom search, and it’s searching the Web, not just the sites I specified.
Rob: I never did try Rollyo, so I can’t compare the two.
pauldwaite: you know, I couldn’t figure that out either, though trovster did. Maybe it’ll become more clear as the service moves into later, more stable “beta”.
Paul Martin: excellent point! I hadn’t even considered that, since I literally don’t see the ads any more, but it’s definitely something they’ll have to work on.
Bertillo (and others): I didn’t change a thing, so it would seem Google’s changed something.
steve: great suggestion. Thanks! Even better would be to add them yourself, via the volunteer mechanism… if you can find it. (I couldn’t, but see the comment from trovster.)
Philip Withnall: I couldn’t agree more.
pauldwaite: upon further reflection, I realized you were probably asking how to find the CSS Search pages to volunteer. Duh me. I added some information along those lines to the post.
@Trovster: super, many thanks.
@Eric: Thanks for updating the post, it all seems to point in the right direction now.
Looking forward to seeing how this works out.
This is weird! The CSS search worked correctly for me from the very first day that you posted it on here: I got seven results from two CSS sites. A plain vanilla search for the same thing resulted in thousands of hits.
I just checked out your volunteer page …
… if you would: peek my del.icio.us CSS lanks (41 in total); I’d be glad to sift through them if you think any there are of interest to you.
p.s. it’s sure nice to have a Preview function when including HTML.
456berea’s article with one suggestion.
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