skip to main content

TAMU Webmaster's Blog

Information and insight from the A&M Webmasters

Google Search Appliance Update

November 15th, 2012 by mdmcginnis

We will be upgrading the campus Google Search Appliance (GSA) with security patches on Saturday morning, Nov. 17, 2012. As we recommended during the last GSA upgrade, campus webmasters may want to look at our instructions on how to use Google Custom Search in their search boxes during the outage. You can try out our Google Custom Search box at

Speaking of Google, earlier this week some Google employees contacted me about our Google Search Appliance. We knew that many universities are switching away from that product entirely and using Google Custom Search for free instead, so I asked them about whether we should too.

The Googlers didn’t disagree when I said that everything that we’re doing now with our Google Search Appliance seems possible with Google Custom Search. The only exception: it doesn’t provide search results in XML format, but the paid version, Google Site Search, can, and for only a couple hundred dollars a year for the typical college or department. Our web pages are well indexed by public Google – thoroughly and speedily – so results from Google Custom Search are already very similar to results from the GSA. And Google Custom Search can display thumbnails in search results.

Our contract with Google won’t be up for renewal until next November, but we need to start thinking now about whether we should renew it. What are your thoughts?

Thursday, November 15th, 2012 Search
Share this article

2 Comments to Google Search Appliance Update

  1. Hi Michael,

    When using Google Custom Search, it appears there is no ability to define key matches and related queries. Am I correct in assuming that, if the Google contract is not renewed, we would lose these abilities?

  2. Mike on November 15th, 2012
  3. In Google Custom Search, KeyMatches are called Promotions, and I’ve already imported all of ours. You can see one at You might also find Autocompletions and Refinements useful. Related Queries might not have a direct counterpart in Google Custom Search, but Synonyms are very similar. That is, when you search (GSA) for “cheer”, you get the message “You could also try: yell,” followed by the results for “cheer.” When you search (GCS) for “cheer”, the results for “yell” are silently and automatically included. In this case, I think the results are more satisfying on GCS than GSA. I’ve also imported our Related Queries, as Synonyms, into Google Custom Search.

  4. Michael on November 15th, 2012

Leave a comment