Google is celebrating the third anniversary of its Custom Search tools with a number of new features for webmasters looking to improve web site search facilities.
The firm claimed in a blog post that the new tools - Custom Search Themes, Structured Custom Search and the Custom Search Wikipedia skin - will improve user experience, save time on page development and layout, and speed up the search process for visitors.
Customer Search Themes offers a range of new customisation features, including a new set of layouts for search results, and versions designed for Android, iPhone and Palm Pre handsets. Drop down menus offer quick access to options for changing fonts, and other page elements.
Google software engineer Radu Cornea and senior interaction designer John Skidgel explained that webmasters could present results in a number of ways, such as limiting the range of searched documents or using certain categories.
"There are several results hosting options. Your users can quickly review results, narrow results to specific categories with a simple tabbed interface, and dismiss results, all without leaving your web page. We believe this will make it easier and faster for your site's users to find the information they are looking for," they said.
Structured Custom Search, meanwhile, improves the way that searches are narrowed down, and provides the ability to search for an author's name, for example, while researching a certain topic.
Finally, the Wikipedia Custom Search skin adds the ability to search Wikipedia articles and gather up-to-date information within one page view. Results are placed inline, and in tabbed groups, making it easier to see what is relevant and discard what is not.
The feature works with Wikipedia's Monobook and Beta Vector skins, and " should" work on Wikipedia domains globally, Google said. Users will need a Wikipedia account to use the Custom Search skin.
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