Google will stop accepting new customers for Google Site Search at the start of April, and will turn the product off completely in 2018
You know that search box in the top corner of just about every website you visit? There's a pretty good chance that it's powered by Google site search. This means the site is paying Google to use its excellent search functionality to find relevant results for users. If your site's search uses Google Site Search, then we've got some bad news for you. Google has just announced it will be discontinuing the product, and although it will be fulfilling the contracts it already has it won't be allowing anyone to renew after April 2017. This will mean by 2018 the product will be switched off completely, and anyone using Google Site Search will have their site search function automatically switch to Google's 'Custom Search Engine' (CSE) product. This provides the same functionality, but is supported by Ads.
This ad supported product is fine for micro businesses, but if you are running a large site for an established brand, you don't want ads appearing to customers searching your site. For one thing, your competitors could be advertising on those keywords so you could see traffic with high purchase intent being directed off your site towards the product pages of competitors.
Alternatives to Google Site Search
So what can larger sites do? Unable to purchase an enterprise solution from Google to handle their site users internal search queries, they will have to look at other providers if they don't want ads to appear. Here are some providers of ad-free site search functionality you may want to consider:
- Cludo - A relatively new player to the market, quick and easy to set up and customize.
- MindBreeze - Simple architecture and easily scalable.
- Apache Lucene - Open source provider, with powerful customization options. Excellent search algorithm, used by Twitter & Wikipedia.