Google has just announced the release of a handful of major new features for its Google Custom Search products, including a new set of themes, improved use of rich snippets in custom search, and a new Wikipedia search. The announcements aren’t especially related, but they’ll be welcome news to the millions of sites that have deployed Custom Search.
The next major annoucement is improved support for structured data in search results. Custom Search can take advantage of formats including RDFa, PageMaps, and Microformats. You’ll now be able to incorporate thumbnails and specific actions — say, purchasing an item directly from a result — using this metadata. There’s also support for structured search, which allows users to finetune their queries using tags (for example, I could restrict my search to a specific author, assuming the site I was searching had a metatag that specified who wrote their articles).
Finally, today Custom Search is also rolling out a new set of customizable templates, which let users easily specify how their search results should appear on the page with respect to both layout and theme. There’s also a feature that will allow site owners to automatically redirect mobile users to a site that’s been optomized for smartphones.