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Google Site Search Users Get On-Demand Indexing

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Google Site Search on Zecco.com
Click to enlarge. Source: Google
In a further bid to attract and maintain customers of its business search service, Google announced a free upgrade to its Site Search offering today that it said would help customers keep their search results fresher and more useful.

Google Site Search, or GSS, is the hosted, or cloud-based version, of the Internet giant's search engine. Its latest addition, which goes live today, is an "Index Now" button that enables customers to get their search results re-indexed, so that searchers retrieve the freshest results.

"Our customers want to make sure their site visitors are getting the most up-to-date results," Nitin Mangtani, Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) lead product manager for enterprise search, told InternetNews.com. "Index Now is like a turbo button or FastPass to their new pages," Mangtani added, referring to the line-bypassing ticket offered by Disney theme parks.

Google will continue to automatically re-index results at certain intervals, but the new feature is designed to give customers the ability add new site content and ensure that it appears to searchers in a more timely fashion.

The effort comes as a move to improve the effectiveness of Google's business offerings, which seek to parlay the company's strengths in public Internet search into services and appliances geared toward small businesses and enterprises. In addition to GSS, Google offers the Google Search Appliance, an on-premises hardware appliance designed for companies, but is a distinct service.

IDC search analyst Sue Feldman said Google needs to continue working on ways to improve its enterprise search products, because what works on the consumer Web -- where search results' relevancy is largely determined through analyzing pages' linking patterns -- isn't always as effective in more narrowly defined venues.

"The problem with link analysis inside one specific Web site is that it doesn't always single out the most important thing, because it doesn't have enough to go on and compare it to," Feldman said.

Making results generated from GSS more useful is Google's key aim in introducing of Index Now, the company said. Using the on-demand indexing feature, Google said new pages would become searchable within hours and should take no longer than a day, at most, to appear within a site's search results.

Beta customers who have already put Index Now to use include Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE), which used it for the launch of its Creative 4 Suite launch, the Con Edison utility and stock trading site Zecco.com.

"At Zecco.com, people are looking for lots of different kinds of information -- a stock quote for a specific company, a discussion held by different members of our community, or help with setting up their account," said Tony Leach, senior product manager for Zecco, in a statement. "With Google Site Search, we can give our users a single search tool to access all the information on our site."

Mangtani also made a point of noting that the new indexing control is designed only for the sites run by GSS customers -- not larger search through Google.com.

"It's specific to Google Site Search and doesn't affect how Google.com indexes sites," he said. So, for example, when Zecco.com re-indexes its site, that doesn't affect what a consumer might find using Google in a search for stock trading.

Pricing for GSS remains unchanged, starting at $100 per year for up to 5,000 Web pages.

As a result, IDC's Feldman said she thinks GSS has a "pretty affordable" starting price and should be especially attractive to smaller site owners who lack an IT department.

"It's a good thing Google is offering something like this for them," she said.