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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Google's CSE And The Future Of Human Edited Internet Directories

Human edited Internet directories are not new. The Open Directory Project (DMOZ) has been using human editors to build, organize and maintain its extensive database of Internet sites since the late 1990's. Over the last decade, this free online directory has helped countless search engines, including Google, create a stable foundation for success.

The Open Directory Project's concept is sound. To date, no search algorithm can take the place of human edited results. But the DMOZ has had its share of problems. The biggest problem facing the DMOZ today seems to be its dwindling staff of volunteers. Internet users have cited slow response times and the rejection of applications submitted by qualified editors, among their list of criticisms. These difficulties have lead frustrated users to look elsewhere for Internet directory listings and web community approval.

Google is currently offering a free Custom Search Engine tool that could very well be the solution to the problems facing the Open Directory Project. The tool is available to anyone with a Google account and is relatively easy to set up. It allows the CSE's creator to add a customizable web search form and Google search results to their website and specify or emphasize which websites they want to include in their results. The account holder can also invite or allow other Internet users to contribute to the Custom Search Engine by adding or removing domains from the list of approved websites.

A great feature of the CSE is that once it becomes public, the search box and results can be added to any website with a short snippet of code from Google. This is good for two reasons. First, it gives the project the potential of widespread adoption and participation by the Internet community. And second, it serves as a good indicator of the Custom Search Engine's usefulness and validity as illustrated by the size of its subscription base.

If maintained by reputable sources, CSEs can serve as small, yet valuable human edited Internet directories for web users who want information about specific topics or industries. It's very likely that Google will someday use a compilation of the directories and the lists of domains contained within them, to improve their search and ranking algorithms.

Expect to see Custom Search Engines and similar tools in your Internet neighborhood for a long time to come. They're consistent with the web's "power of the people" movement and may prove to be the future of human edited Internet directories.

Erik M. Cunningham is an author and researcher for LinkAssure Try LinkAssure's Custom Search Engine for the Link Building Industry to retrieve Google search results with increased emphasis on articles, information and advice from reputable link building companies and industry experts. Or add our Link Building CSE to your website as a useful tool for your SEM and SEO site visitors.

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