Google have just launched the Google Co-op Custom Search service.
The initial feedback I have seen from many bloggers is “more of the same”.
Google Co-op is not the same as Google Adsense for Search in many ways, and the new service can be used / abused in ways that Adsense for Search could not.
- There are some distinct differences in the code that you include on your website
- There are additional collaboration features
- The terms of service have a different feel, and are missing a few specific clauses
- Sites can be included in the results, but also blocked
There are a number of projects I have been trying to launch for the last month that would use Adsense for Search and other Google services to provide a unique service.
I have had quite lengthy discussions with the Google Adsense team, but although they have allowed a number of sites to use Google Adsense for Search in a similar way to what I intend, they are reserving this only for test sites. What I intended to do was combine a few of the ways Adsense for Search was being used, with the way another Google service was being used, to create something unique. Currently I am not allowed to do it.
Because of the differences in code (point 1 above) for Google Co-op, one of the ways I wanted to use Google results would be impossible to implement.
The difference in the terms of service however might allow for a partial solution, and thus I have sent an enquiry to Google to see if this will be possible.
Most people would assume that if there are 2 Google products, and you want to have them interacting together to provide a better, unique service, that Google wouldn’t object. There are even situations where a visitor to your website is allowed to perform certain actions with a Google product, and if they then distribute the result from that interaction, your Google Adsense account could be in jeopardy.
I am being very vague in much of the above. I treat my discussions with Google as private, and obviously want to be able to implement my unique solution sometime in the future, whilst retaining a competitive edge.
If you are doing anything out of the ordinary with Google services, I strongly advise consulting with them first.
Of particular concern is anything that modifies or generates Google adsense code, and doesn’t connect directly with their API.
Google provide a way of modifying Adsense code “on the fly” with their API, but most solutions take a shortcut and modify the code directly with substitution. An example of this are the many plugins for sharing adsense revenue, where all you have to do is provide an adsense publisher ID to get your share. Any site that does some form of direct substitution has to be authorised by Google.
It should be noted that Google Co-op Custom Search is a beta project, but it is labelled “beta” and not “labs”. That means this is a core feature of Google, unlike Free Search, or even Google Reader.
Search Engine Round Table has some solid information on the signup process for monetizing your search with Google Co-op.
Neowin has a short piece, but the comments made me chuckle. Co-op certainly has a different meaning to most readers in the UK, and it is nothing to do with Google.
Techcrunch has a relatively short article on Google Co-op.