With Google Site Search, any website can add a custom search field that is powered by the same tech as Google.com. The company is now reportedly discontinuing the service and directing existing users to a free, but ad-supported alternative.
According to Fortune, Google is in the process of informing users of this upcoming change. The paid service in its current form will continue to function until licenses expire. However, beginning April 1st, new sign-ups and renewals will no longer be available.
Update: Google has confirmed that they are “winding down the Google Site Search product over the next year.” As a courtesy, existing licenses expiring between April 1 and June 30 will be extended an additional three months, with customer and technical support available until the end of the contract.
Launched in 2008, Site Search was aimed at websites of all sizes. Pricing began at $100 annually for blogs, with medium-sized business paying $2,000 for 500,000 search queries a year. Everything from the look and feel of search results could be customized, while functionality was in line with the full Google Search.
Search functionality will continue to work, but accounts will “automatically convert” to an existing service known as the Custom Search Engine. While free, these results pages will feature ads, Google branding, and less customization options. CSE appears to be the more profitable product for Google, with the ability to search the broader web.
At the moment, the Google Site Search page has yet to reflect the upcoming changes, with licenses still available for purchase.