blog: Google Custom Search

By CaitdCaitd (1225851708|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

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What is Google Custom Search?

A Google Custom Search Engine is a search engine that has been tailored to your specifications. It utilizes Google's search technology. What it does, it that it places priority on websites that you specify. It can be used to reflect your own point of view or help guide website visitors in the area of your own specific expertise.

You can customize your search engine box to match the look of your website. You can add extra search qualifications to help guide website visitors within the search results. To further help point them in the right direction, you can add urls to your search engine site index.

How am I going to apply this to my wiki?

Using Google's Custom Search has several positive qualities. My wiki is trying to sell people on the idea of becoming an analyst in the non profit arena within HIV/AIDS relief in Africa. The best part about this for my project is that it allows me to help guide people in the right direction. There are many different types of non profits operating within Africa. I want to restrict my search results to non profit efforts with regards to HIV/AIDS relief. It also helps steer people away from search results about HIV/AIDS the disease not the non profit work associated with it.

Also, by using custom search, I can restrict certain websites. There are many graphic or misleading sites that pop up in the results when you search for non profit relief for HIV/AIDS in Africa. Using Google's Custom I can block those sites that give a potentially misleading picture for potential analysts.

Some problems: the content of some the websites I wanted the search to look at were deemed "forbidden."

Message from Google:
" Forbidden
Your client does not have permission to get URL /custom?cx=2834726842[etc] from this server. (Client IP address: [my ip address])
The website you’ve just visited has tried to provide you with search results from Google. Unfortunately, the site violates our terms of service so your search could not be completed. If you would like to continue with your search, please click the link below, which will take you directly to Google and the results you’ve requested. We apologize for the inconvenience and encourage you to conduct future searches directly from google.com or through the Google Toolbar, which can be downloaded for free from this address: http://toolbar.google.com.

Click here to continue your search on Google."

The site I was looking at was UNAIDS. It took four tries to finally get Google Custom Search to allow UNAIDS to be a part of my search results. Also, I had similar problems with several other sites. I finally got all the problems worked out to come back to my wiki a half and hour later and it was again giving me similar results. UNAIDS is a highly respectable organization and it provides a large portion of HIV/AIDS relief in Africa. Not being able to get results from this site, creates an incomplete picture of the non profit arena in Africa.

Overall, it can be a helpful tool. It helps me edit out the sites that provide misleading information. However because of the site restrictions that it often placed on several key sites, it is not always a useful tool. When it is working properly, it adds much value to helping create an overall picture of what goes on while being an HIV/AIDS relief worker in the African non profit arena.

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