For those of you who live in caves, up on trees, or under rocks, Google launched a Custom Search feature this past week (lots more coverage here). The basic concept is this: anyone can go to Google co-op, login, and create a new custom search with their own favorite sites and some predefined search categories (called refinements). So here’s the LD Gadget Search:
Try searching for some kind of, well, gadget. Go ahead, it won’t hurt.
Ok, if you don’t want to do so, I’ve gone ahead and done some searches to try it out.
Second try, searching for the Slingbox. LD Gadget vs Google general. Well, in this case the search sites are basically news/reviews/blogs/pricing sites, and don’t include any manufacturers, so my custom search did not outperform the generic one.
Third test, searching for iPod prices. I used the ‘Prices’ refinement (which I built with a few comparison and shopping sites) to get these results, versus searching for ipod prices on Google. I think my customization here gave significantly worse results, and will need to go see if its something I should do different (bad grammar out of courtesy to the Apple marketing department).
Fourth up, looking for Zune news. I figured I’d try a hot term, and built a ‘news’ refinement (results here) to compare against Google. Now these results are quite interesting, as the generic search surfaced the dozens of new Zune news sites which have popped up. Personally, I prefered the custom results, as I am more interested in Engadget’s update than I am in adding ZuneNation to my news sources (no offense or anything to that site, I just don’t feel like adding more sites to my already overlong bookmarks and links lists).
I’ll keep working on the LD Gadget Search to see if I can make it a really useful resource over time. In the meantime, please feel free to add any suggestions to the implementation. Also, in the very nature of the “co-op” it’s easy to have additional folks come in and edit the sites and settings, so come on in, the water’s fine!