What Is Programmable Search Engine?

Programmable Search Engine lets you create a search engine for your website, your blog, or a collection of websites. You can configure your search engine to search both web pages and images. You can fine-tune the ranking, customize the look and feel of the search results, and invite your friends or trusted users to help you build your Programmable Search Engine. You can even make money from your search engine by using your Google AdSense account.

There are two main use cases for Programmable Search Engine - you can create a search engine that searches only the contents of one website (site search), or you can create one that focuses on a particular topic from multiple sites. You can use your expertise about a subject to tell Programmable Search Engine which websites to search, prioritize, or ignore. Because you know your users well, you can tailor the search engine to their interests.

With Programmable Search Engine, you can:

  • Create Programmable Search Engines that search across a specified collection of sites or pages
  • Enable image search for your site
  • Customize the look and feel of search results, including adding search-as-you-type autocompletions
  • Add promotions to your search results
  • Leverage structured data on your site to customize search results
  • Create a monetized search engine ad unit with your Google AdSense account, so you make money whenever users click ads on your search results pages.

Summary of Programmable Search Engine Offerings

Programmable Search Engine has four offerings available for use. Use this chart to help you select which offering is best for your site.

Offering Standard Search Element Non-profit Search Element Paid Search Element Custom Search JSON API
Cost Free Free $5 per thousand queries $5 per thousand queries
Ads Yes No No No
Google Branding Optional Yes Optional No
Daily Query Limit No Daily Limit No Daily Limit No Daily Limit 10,000 queries per day
Implementation Client side javascript Client side javascript Client side javascript Client side or server side JSON API
Availability Everyone Non-profits only Everyone Everyone
Getting Started Learn More Learn More Learn More Learn More

Available APIs

After creating a Programmable Search Engine, you can use a default page hosted by Google to show your results to the user, or you can embed search functionality directly in your website. The following resources are available to developers who want more control over creating search engines and customizing the appearance of search results:

  • The Programmable Search Element Control API

    lets you embed the Programmable Search Element in your web pages and other web applications using JavaScript.

  • The Custom Search JSON API lets you develop websites and programs to retrieve and display search results from Programmable Search Engine programmatically. With this API, you can use RESTful requests to get search results in JSON format.

Getting started

The easiest way to get started with Programmable Search Engine is to create a basic search engine using the Control Panel. You can then download the key XML files you need to modify to customize your search engine programmatically.