This page lists terms used in the Programmable Search Engine Developer's Guide.

  1. A-B
  2. C-D
  3. E-F
  4. G-L
  5. M-P
  6. Q-R
  7. S
  8. T-Z


A Google product that lets you earn money by displaying relevant ads on your website's content pages or search results. To learn more, visit the Google AdSense site or its Help Center.
A Google product that provides detailed statistical reports about traffic to your website. To learn more, see the Google Analytics site.
Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, a programming technique that uses existing languages and tools (such as JavaScript and XML HTTP requests) to create interactive web applications. Ajax lets web applications retrieve data in the background and update portions of a page instead of refreshing the entire webpage. The Web 2.0 look and feel, such as translucent pages that overlay an existing webpage, can be implemented using Ajax.
A unit of information in the annotations file. An annotation comprises a site in your search engine and its associated labels. You can define annotations in the Sites tab of the control panel or in the annotations file. To learn more, see The Basics and Selecting Sites to Search.
annotations file
An XML or TSV file that lists sites (webpages or websites) you want your search engine to cover. You can think of it as the index of your search engine that contains information about which sites should be covered and how they should be ranked in the results. To learn more about creating the file, see The Basics and Selecting Sites to Search.
In XML, a property of an element. An attribute is made up of a name and a value (<element attribute_name="value">). To learn more about XML and attributes, see The Basics.
List of search queries that appear in your search box as users type. For example, as users start to type the first few characters of "google" in the search box, the search box automatically generates possible queries such as "google maps", "google earth", "", and so on.
background label
See search engine label.
A mode for a label. Sites tagged with boost labels are promoted in the search ranking. How much a site is promoted depends on the weight you assign to the label and the score you assign to the site. To learn more, see Changing the Ranking of Your Search Results.
boost search engine
A search engine that does not exclude results. Instead, it searches across the web and promotes sites that you have tagged with boost labels.

Back to top


Acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. A test that asks the user to read distorted text and type it in a text box. It was developed by Carnegie Mellon University to ensure that the response is generated by a person and not a bot or a computer program. To learn more, visit
An identifier for AdSense that lets you view detailed reporting about the performance of your search engine. To learn more about channels, see the Help Center for AdSense.
client-side scripting
Type of computer program that is executed by the client, or web browser, instead of the server. It enables webpages to be dynamic, that is, able to interact with the input of the users or some variable (such as locale of the user or the version of the browser). For example, a dynamic webpage could change its contents (say, a schedule of interesting local events) based on the entries the user has submitted on a membership form. You can write client-side scripting using programming languages such as JavaScript or VBScript.
Text associated with a label. Comments are for your benefit; your users can't see them.
Defines the infrastructure of your search engine, such as how results page should look, what the labels are, how pages should be ranked, and so on. You define the context of a search engine in the Basics tab of the control panel or in the context file. See also annotations. To learn more about context, see The Basics and Selecting Sites to Search.
context file
An XML file that defines the specifications of your search engine. It acts as the control center, houses labels, and specifies the global settings for a search engine. To learn more about creating the file, see The Basics and Defining Your Search Engine Specifications.
control panel
The webpages that let you manage your search engines and define their settings.
Programmable Search Engine
A Google product that lets you create a search engine for your website, your blog, or a collection of websites.
Programmable Search Element
A Web Element for Programmable Search Engines. You can embed a Programmable Search Engine into your website by copying and pasting code generated in the Implementing search box page.
Programmable Search Engine
The search engine that you create and customize using Programmable Search Engine.

Back to top


A mode for a label. Sites tagged with eliminate labels are excluded from the results page of your search engine. To learn more, see Changing the Ranking of Your Search Results.
eliminate search engine
A search engine that excludes certain sites; it searches across the web while excluding sites you had tagged with eliminate labels from the search results.
external annotations
A stand-alone annotation file. For contrast, see inline annotations. Most annotations are external annotations.
A conceptual grouping of related refinement labels. A facet is composed of facet items.
facet item
Describes a refinement label and its title. The title is visible to users and appears in the search results page.
facet label
A refinement label that users can see in the search results page.
A mode for a label. Sites tagged with filter labels are the only sites displayed in the search results. To learn more, see Changing the Ranking of Your Search Results.
filter search engine
A search engine that includes only sites tagged with filter labels and excludes all other sites.

Back to top


A program that fetches or crawls billions of pages on the web. Crawling programs are also known as robots, bots, or spiders. Googlebot uses an algorithm that determines which sites to crawl, how often, and how many pages to fetch from each site.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol. HTTP is a standard for sending and retrieving documents over the internet. To learn more about the protocol, see the HTTP - Hypertext Transfer Protocol document maintained by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
An HTML structure that lets you embed an HTML document within an HTML page.
inline annotations
Annotations that are embedded inside a context file. For contrast, see external annotations. A context file with inline annotations has two sections: the CustomSearchEngine section, which houses the context or search engine specification, and the Annotations section, which houses the annotations or sites information. You can use files of this format only if you are hosting them from your website.
A list of words or phrases that describe the content of the webpages or the coverage of your search engine. Keywords are a way for you to apply the intent of your users to the search engine; they boost certain webpages in your search results. To learn more, see Changing the Ranking of Your Search Results.
JavaScript Object Notation. A format for exchanging data that are structured as a collection of name-value pairs or an ordered list of values. To learn more, see the documentation.
Determines how sites should be treated and gives you the means to fine-tune search results. A label has a mode—which tells Programmable Search Engine what do with the sites, such as whether to exclude, promote, or demote them. How much a site is promoted or demoted depends on the weights that you apply to the labels. The two kinds of labels are search engine labels, which runs in the background, and refinement labels, which are exposed to your users. To learn more, see Changing the Ranking of Your Search Results and Helping Your Users Refine Their Searches.

Back to top


An HTML5 specification for adding machine-readable content to web pages. A microdata item is created by adding an itemscope attribute to an HTML tag and properties are added to it using an itemprop="name" attribute to one of the item's descendants. Microdata can often be used in place of microformats or RDFa. To learn more about microdata, see the HTML5 standard for microdata.
Specifications for representing commonly published things such as reviews, people, products, and businesses. Generally, microformats consist of <span> and <div> elements and a class property, along with a brief and descriptive property name (such as dtreviewed or rating to represent the date an item was reviewed and its rating, respectively). To learn more about microformats, visit
A label attribute that allows you to promote, demote, or remove results matching your label. The modes are: filter, boost, and eliminate.
Outline Processor Markup Language. OPML is a type of XML format that was originally developed for defining ordered lists of elements or outlines, but it is now also commonly used for web feeds. You can learn more about OPML by reading its documentation. As for learning more about how it is used in Programmable Search Engine, see Selecting Sites to Search.
An Ajax-based screen that appears in an existing webpage.
Structured data format Google created to enable website creator to embed data and notes in their webpages. Unlike other structured data formats, PageMaps does not require you to follow standard properties or terms, or even refer to an existing vocabulary, schema, or template. You can just create custom attribute values that make sense for your website. To learn more, see Providing Structured Data.
Initialism for Perl-compatible regular expressions. See regular expressions.
Perl-compatible regular expressions.
See regular expressions.
pre-built label
See search label.
A specially created result that appears at the top of the results page. It associates a created result with a pre-defined set of query terms.


query term
The search term that would trigger a promotion.
Resource Description Framework in attributes is a standard W3C specification with attributes that extends XHTML to include semantic metadata. See also structured data format.
A way to categorize sites by topics. You can create refinement labels that you associate with sites; refinement links then appear at the top of your search results page, and users can click them to narrow down their searches. To learn more, see Helping Your Users Refine Their Searches.
refinement label
A label that appears as links at the top of the search results page. The label is applied to the search engine only when users click the refinement link. For contrast, see search engine label. To learn more, see Helping Your Users Refine Their Searches.
refinement link
A link that appears at the top of the search results page. Users can click a refinement link to to narrow their searches. To learn more, see Helping Your Users Refine Their Searches.
regular expressions
A special pattern of characters for describing searches and manipulating text. For example, if you want to search for "monkey " or "monkeys" in a text file, you could use the question mark (?) regular expression, which indicates that the character immediately preceding the regular expression could either exist or not. If you type "monkeys?" in a search tool that can process regular expressions, it will find any instance of "monkeys" and "monkey".
robots meta tag
An HTML meta tag that tells web crawlers how to treat the webpage. The tag might look like this: <META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW">. For more information, see the Webmaster Help Center.
A file in a website that gives instructions to web robots, such as a Googlebot. The Robots Exclusion Protocol is followed by Google and other search engines. To learn more, see

Back to top


Determines how intensely a label should be applied to a site. The score, which is applied to an individual annotation, tempers or reverses the influence of the weighted labels. It adds another layer of granularity to the fine-tuning of the ranking. To learn more, see Changing the Ranking of Your Search Results.
Search element
An object that you can embed in your webpage. It shows the search box and search results together in the same webpage that the reader is viewing. When your users do searches, they are not taken to another webpage, unless they click links in the results section. If your users remain in the same page, they can close the results section and resume reading the webpage. See also Web Elements.
search engine label
A label that Programmable Search Engine uses to associate context specifications with annotations. The context file includes labels that identify the search engine, and you tag each site in the annotations file with the search engine labels. Programmable Search Engine displays search results according to how sites had been annotated with these labels. Search engine labels are also called background labels, because—in contrast to refinement labels, which are visible to the users and appear in the results page—search engine labels run in the background and are invisible to users. To learn more about search engine labels, see Changing the Ranking of Your Search Results.
search engine specifications
See also context file.
Website, webpage, or URL pattern defined in your annotations file.
An XML file that lists pages on your website. It could also include information about the webpages, such as when they were most recently updated, how frequently they change, and how important they are in relation to each other. Submitting a Sitemap of your website to Google Webmaster Central helps Google discover pages on your site, including those that Google could not find with the normal crawling process. To learn more about the XML schema, see the Sitemaps documentation in Search Console.
A search result in the results page. It shows a small sample of content of the webpage. To learn more, see the Webmaster Central blog post on the anatomy of a search result.
structured data
Semantic metadata that describes the content of the webpage. They are text snippets embedded in the page to give information that might be more meaningful to machines. To learn more, see Customizing Result Snippets.
structured data format
Specifications for tags that make data more meaningful to machines. Programmable Search Engine can read microformats, RDFa, and PageMaps. To learn more, see Customizing Result Snippets.
Variants of a query term. For example, "cd" could have the following related terms: "certificate of deposit", "fixed-income instrument", and "fixed cashflow". To learn more, see Improving User Queries For More Relevant Results.

Back to top


Transcription of words in English alphabet into another writing system. Transliteration converts words you enter in English into their phonetic equivalents in another script, such as Arabic or Hindi.
TSV file
Tab Separated Value file, a plain-text file that includes lines of fields (strings of characters) that are separated from each other by single tab stops. You can use a simple text editor or a spreadsheet editor to create and edit a TSV file. Just save the text file with the file extension .tsv (for example, cse_bicycles.tsv).
User interface.
URL pattern
A group of URLs that match a given pattern. For example, * is a pattern for all subdomains (such as and under . To learn more, see the Programmable Search Engine Help Center.
Defines how intensely Programmable Search Engine should apply a label to a tagged site. The values for a weight can range from -1.0 to +1.0. A positive weight in the label emphasizes sites tagged with it, while a negative weight, de-emphasizes. Compare with score.
Extensible Hypertext Markup Language is a type of XML that extends HTML. Because it abides by the rules of XML, it has a stricter syntax than HTML. The tags must be well-formed. To learn more about XML syntax, see The Basics.
Extensible Markup Language, a general-purpose markup language. It is a format with text that you can read. For example, the Programmable Search XML format includes the following tags: <Context> </Context> and <LookAndFeel> </LookAndFeel>. To learn more about XML, see The Basics.


Back to top