Sun-Sentinel.com published an article today about Google's new low cost search engine services. For $100 / year, Google will search through up to 5,000 web pages and for $500 / year, Google will search through up to 50,000 web pages. Unlike the current Google site search service, these search results, I think, would exist on your site as if it was your own code without Google-served ads (such as those found in AdSense for search pages).
This is pretty cool. $100 / year works out to be about $8.30 / month. Not a bad cost for Google-powered searching. I know that creating solid site searches is one of the things I find the most difficult. I am sure their solution will be better than my solution just about any day of the week! Although, I wonder how the search results are returned.
We run a Google Search Appliance which can support up to 1.5 million docs - it's a closed local box, with a web based front end.
Certainly with the GSA, we can return results in XML etc, and if you can be bothered to write the XSLT, you could do whatever you want with the data.
I've used CF to send an HTTP request result to the box, return the XML, parse and display it; however, you loose things like the ability to page the results easily etc if you do this; it's easier to add what they call a "front end" to the box to customize your results. The disadvantage is, you end up on the domain the box is running (even though it may 'look' like your site).
I imagine Google is just offering front end equivalents + collections off their GSAs for this, and limiting the number of docs.
Those things are pretty cool. I assume you are talking about those yellow|blue boxes. I actually just saw one in person for the first time at CFUNITED. Very click looking. I felt excited just to see it, like seeing a new car or something.
But honestly though, I think this is something that can really help my clients. I am not a search dynamo and for $100 / year (less than one billable hour at my company) we could set up Google-backed search solution - what client wouldn't think that is music to their ears.
Although, we do have clients that like highly structured search results; like, having all attorney search results at the top and stuff like that. It will be interesting to see if customization like that can be achieved.
One thing I wonder is how often they will index your site using their paid service. Is it daily, hourly can you specify perhaps with google sitemaps?
Yeah, good point. And, if you add a new page, I wonder if there is some sort of ping that you can fire that says "index this new page please"; although, I guess that is sort of the idea behind the site map anyway.
With the GSA you can specify crawl times/rates etc... so if it is a cut down version of that, as I suspect, then you may well be able to...