Google Custom Search (formerly known as Google Co-op) is a platform provided by Google that allows web developers to feature specialized information in web searches, refine and categorize queries and create customized search engines, based on Google Search. The service allows users to narrow the 11.5 billion indexed webpages down to a topical group of pages relevant to the creator's needs. Google launched the service on October 23, 2006.
The Google Custom Search platform consists of three services:
Released on October 23, 2006, Google Custom Search allows anyone to create their own search engine by themselves. Search engines can be created to search for information on particular topics chosen by the creator. Google Custom Search Engine allows creators to select what websites will be used to search for information which helps to eliminate any unwanted websites or information. Creators can also attach their custom search engine to any blog or webpage. Google AdSense results can also be triggered from certain search queries, which would generate revenue for the site owner.
Provided as part of the original service, subscribed links were discontinued on 15 September 2011.
Subscribed Links were web results that users could manually subscribe to. Anyone was allowed to make a new Subscribed Link, and did not necessarily need knowledge on how to create a feed, as a basic link could be created. Subscriptions were then available in a special directory.
Topics are specific areas of search, which can be developed by people with knowledge of a certain subject. These topics are then displayed at the top of relevant Google web searches, so the user can refine the searches to what they want. Currently, there is a limited number of topics that Google is wanting to develop, namely Health, Destination Guides, Autos, Computer games, Photography and Home Theater.
One of the topics with many contributions is Health. They include the National Library of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health On the Net Foundation, Harvard Medical School, Mayo Clinic and others.
Google CSE's may offer better topical search results than the standard Google search.
Google announced that they would Discontinue their service on April 1, 2017 and Completely shut down on April 1, 2018.