Google Fits Wikipedia for Custom Search Skin

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-10-27

Google Oct. 26 celebrated the third birthday of its Custom Search application by rolling out a special Wikipedia skin to makes it easier for users to surf the leading resource Website.

Google Custom Search lets Website publishers make their content searchable by Google, prioritizing search results based on Websites and pages that users query. Custom Search users can also add the aesthetic qualities of their Website to the search results page, and add sites to their search engine's index as they browse the Web.

Wikipedia has long let users personalize their Wikipedia environment with certain configurations and the use of styles or skins.

What Google has done is essentially marry the customization aspects of Custom Search with those of Wikipedia. Users may now use Custom Search to search across all Wikipedia articles for any topic, and find relevant pages linked from the Wikipedia page users are currently on.  

The search results will appear in line at the top of the Wikipedia page they are viewing, and can easily be removed via the "Clear" or X button. Once results are removed, a user can return to the current article of interest without having to switch to another Web browser tab.

Google Search Product Manager Rajat Mukherjee said the Custom Search skin also includes contextual search to let users search sets of pages as they navigate Wikipedia. Mukherjee  explained:

"For Wikipedia pages with a lot of information and links, contextual search lets you limit your search to only those Wikipedia pages that are linked from the current article, focusing the results on the topic of the article. So, in addition to getting all matching Wikipedia articles, you can quickly drill down to contextually relevant results using the Linked Wikipedia Pages tab."

For example, he said searching "sequence" from a Wikipedia page on DNA provides a list of relevant results about DNA sequences and DNA sequence alignment, instead of the many pages about sequences that aren't relevant.

To get the Custom Search skin, users with a Wikipedia account may log in and enable the Custom Search skin here to access relevant Google Custom Search results.

In the meantime, read more about how the Wikipedia skin works from a technical standpoint on the Google Custom Search blog here.

Also in celebration of the birthday of Custom Search, Google released Custom Search Themes and Structured Custom Search.

Themes lets users choose from several styles to customize the appearance of their search results. Structured Custom Search lets those Website owners using the Custom Search Element add links from publishers to their search results based on specific metadata markup in their Web pages.

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