Google recently opened up its core search technology to allow webmasters to add a custom search engine to their site with the launch of Google Co-op.

A custom search engine is a search engine that uses underlying technology from another search engine but which priortizes or restricts search results according to the website owner’s specific requirements. Google appears to have very commendable reasons behind the launch:

“Google’s mission is to connect people to information – no matter how specialized or specific – as quickly as possible. The Custom Search Engine allows you to combine Google’s search algorithm with your own expertise to create a customized experience – thus making access to specific information across the web easier for your users.”

Indeed, perhaps the greatest potential use of the technology is to create a niche vertical search site, where results can be limited to on-topic sites only.

The concept is very similar to the Yahoo! Search Builder. As the internet becomes increasingly overloaded with information, we should welcome sites / technology that can help us find what we are looking for.

Perhaps the only question mark we have is the potential risk to Google when users are presented with entirely unsatisfactory results (due to excessive control by the webmaster) which are ‘powered by Google’.