Revisiting some of my favorite Google work tools: CSE

June 27, 2010

Sometimes I forget that people don’t know about potential learning/work tools that may have been around for several years. Such is the case with Google Custom Search (which has been around now for more than four years).

Anyway…my catalyst for this post was a wonderful online workshop I did last week for AITD. They’ve got a nice line up of professional development opportunities and I was happy to be asked to present on one of my favorite topics – GOOGLE. (Note: Even if you’re not a member of AITD, I think you can could send an inquiry to see if you can sign up for an online event. What’s nice is I did it at US 8:00 pm ET / 5 pm PT (10 am +1 Sydney) so it’s a nice evening option for those in the US.)

One featured tool I had kind of forgotten about was Custom Search Engine. The name is pretty self-explanatory. You can create your own search engine using one or more websites or specific web pages, host a search box on your own website, and create a custom look and feel. You can add other people’s custom search engine  when shared by the creator.

One nice example I found was in Adobe’s Community site. They use it to selectively index Adobe learning and support content as well as the best content from the Adobe community.

Uses for learning….

  • directed learning
  • acts as a scaffold
  • discovery learning
  • guided exploration
  • embed it in an LMS like Moodle to search for content
  • co-creation by employees (collaborative web search engine)
  • electronic performance support
  • efficiency and productivity improvements
  • community search
  • lots of others

There seems to be a business edition (fee) that will search your intranet. You can set a basic one up in about 5 minutes. You’ll need  a Google account. Here’s the Custom Search Blog (there’s also a Twitter account)..recent updates (from the blog) include auto completion of queries (think misspelling or suggestions), an AIR-based companion for Adobe Creative Suite 5 (E-learning Flash developers can search for relevant code samples to write better,  code, faster), support for synonyms, mobile search results, and on and on and on. Enjoy! Let me know if you’re doing something special with Custom Search.

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