Google announced on Friday that it was adding on-demand indexing to its hosted Google Site Search product, giving customers the ability to instantly re-index a site after adding new content.

This gives web site owners running Google Site Search much greater control over the indexing process than in previous iterations of the product where customers were forced to rely on a pre-defined Google algorithm to determine how often content got re-indexed, a method that proved problematic for customers who wanted to index whenever they added new content.

Lot for the Money

Nitin Mangtani - Lead Product Manager, Google Enterprise Search - says that search has become an integral part of a company's online marketing strategy. "Search is not just a technical feature, but a core marketing feature to improve conversion rate and online sales." To that end, Google offers an ad-free Site Search with access to dedicated enterprise mail and phone support, all starting at $100 per year. But even given the price, Mangtani says, customers were asking for more power over the indexing process. Google has added an 'Index Now' button that enables customers to index whenever they add new material, thereby giving site visitors access to the latest and most relevant content.

Must Have Feature

Susan Feldman, an analyst who covers enterprise search at IDC says that this is an absolute must for a hosted search product. "I think that on-demand indexing is a requirement for hosted search--or any site search. You want the most recent content indexed and available immediately." What's more, Feldman says, nobody can touch Google's prices for this type of service. "Most of the larger search engines today host search for their clients. The difference with Google is that it can afford to offer hosted search at a low price point."

I Feel the Need For Speed

Google claims that the new feature, not only gives instant indexing, it does it extremely fast. Mangtani jokes that the 'Index Now' button is like giving a turbo button for indexing. In fact, Adobe was one of the Google Site Search beta customers and has been very pleased with the new feature, especially the speed. "On-Demand Indexing was essential for our recent launch of Adobe Creative Suite 4, the biggest software release in the company's history," said Tanya Wendling, senior director for Learning Resources at Adobe. Wendling says that using Google Site Search's new features, it was able index thousands of new pages and make them available to millions of users worldwide within hours.

If you are a web developer looking for a site search to tool for your company's web site, this is a reasonably priced, full-featured offering that's well worth a look.