Sometime this year, Google will officially shut down their “Google Site Search” feature, a recent notice from the company to web site owners said. The feature, which has been around since 2008, is a paid option people can add to their web site, allowing site visitors to search that site internally using Google’s technology.
What about people who have paid for the product? The program isn’t stopping entirely, Google just isn’t selling any more new licenses. Anyone who has a paid license will have Google search on their site as long as their license runs. “We are winding down the Google Site Search product over the next year,” a Google announcement said, “but will provide customer and technical support through the duration of license agreements.”
Any Google Site Search users who have a license that expires before June of this year will be given a free 3 month extension to allow them time to implement a proper replacement.
So why is Google doing this? A small note in their statement provides some details: “GSS customers may also take advantage of our Custom Search Engine solution, an ads-supported model that offers similar functionality. We continue to build out new functionality and invest in new technology that make enterprise search a great experience for our customers.”
In short, Google likely thinks they can make more money of site specific search products by showing ads rather than charging the sites a flat fee. Google CSE will be free for sites to use, but will display ads on every search a reader conducts. For people who run their own blogs, that brings mixed emotions.
While the move isn’t likely to be popular with customers who feel like they’re already inundated with ads (especially on a blog where the site owner is making money), or with site owners who can’t control the ads that show on their site, the move shows just how reliant on ads Google really is.