Google switches all on-site search tools to be ad-funded in major shake-up


Google is phasing out its paid-for internal site search tool that most websites use to replace it with an advertising funded version in a move that will shock the publishing industry.


Google’s on-site search engine tool has been the “go-to” for web publishers ever since the company’s acquisition of the Urchin platform. For a small annual fee, web publishers get Google quality results based on the content within their own site. Moving to a free approach may sound like good news for publishers, but an ad-funded version would mean ads appearing in the search results on the publishers site – something that many small media owns and brands would never want.
Google has sent an email out to customers telling them they will need to find a new internal search engine service if they want to avoid showing ads from Google on their site.
While customers who have paid for the service will continue to have access to it, no new licenses or renewals will be sold after 1 April, 2017.
Under the move, customers will now be migrated to Google's ad-supported Custom Search Engine or the new cloud search product once their license or search limit expire.
Google will stop fully supporting the Google Site Search product by the fourth-quarter of 2017.
The move marks Google's growing reliance on advertising income, and the move is causing controversy for sites and customers that want to avoid showing ads. In addition, the "Custom Search Engine" is less customisable than Google Site Search.
An announcement on the Google Site Search website said:"On April 1, 2017, Google will discontinue sales of the Google Site Search. All new purchases and renewals must take place before this date. The product will be completely shut down by April 1, 2018."
A Google spokesman said that support will be provided until licenses expire, and for any customers whose licenses expire between 1 April and 30 June, 2017, they will be given a three-month extension.

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