There’s now a ‘business edition‘ of Google’s Custom Search service, which lets you effectively ‘build your own Google’, featuring only the sites you want to be searched. It’s got all the functionality of the world’s favourite search engine, because it is the world’s favourite search engine.
The business edition takes away the adverts; and the results come in as XML, so you can dress them up however you want. Of course it costs money, but for $100/year for a 500-page site, rising to $2250 for a 300,000-page site, you’d be extremely hard pressed to buy, install, maintain and manage an in-house search engine.
Talking to a business contact today, the question came up of launching a search engine aimed at a particular content niche. The free version of Google Custom Search isn’t really an option; but you know what? – this might well be.