Google Puts Some Search 'Skin' In The Wikipedia Game


The new Custom Search integration from Google adds "drill-down" options to Wikipedia's existing interface customization tools, wrote Rajat Mukherjee, group product manager for search at Google, and Mathias Schindler of the San Francisco-based Wikimedia Foundation in a blog post introducing the Custom Search skin.

"We are excited to announce that we've built a Custom Search Wikipedia skin that makes it easier for you to complete your research on Wikipedia," Mukherjee and Schindler wrote Tuesday on the Official Google Blog.

The launch of the Wikipedia search customization tool coincides with the third anniversary of Google's Custom Search release, the pair noted.

Google and Wikipedia put together a Google Custom Search configuration for the Wikipedia page on DNA to showcase the new skin, which provides a variety of search results within a given Wikipedia page rather than requiring the user to open a new browser tab or window.

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A key element of the new tool is contextual search, as in the DNA page example, which features a tab showing pages on Wikipedia that are linked to the DNA page -- a handier way to pull that data from Wikipedia than combing through its pages.

Meanwhile, drive-by users of Wikipedia will not be able to use the new Google Custom Search feature on the Web site. The first step listed in the instructions for setting up the Custom Search skin is: "Create a user account on Wikipedia if you don't already have one."