Last Friday was the third anniversary of Custom Search! Here's a photo of our celebratory cake, baked by John Skidgel, our multitalented Senior Interaction Designer. Our cake was baked in between code reviews for our brand new Look and Feel tab. The magnifying glass was a chocolate cake and the handle and cubes are made from marshmallow and rice cereal squares. Luckily, the local cooking store had ready-made fondant in Google colors. :-)

Thanks to you, our users, the Custom Search platform has grown over the last three years: We now have millions of registered Custom Search engines globally, and are serving many tens of millions of search queries per day. Custom Search, now among the top two widgets on the web, powers websites ranging from the New York Times, MacWorld and Orbitz to individual and topical websites. Since the launch of the Blogger gadget a few months back, hundreds of thousands of bloggers use it to help people find information on their sites. Many applications, such as Community Help within Adobe Creative Suite 4 and topical search on, make use of our unique features, such as label refinements, promotions and Linked Custom Search.

In addition to focusing on ranking, on-demand indexing, customizability, ease of use, language support and scalability, we've tried to serve your business needs too — AdSense for Search and Site Search are built on top of the Custom Search platform. These products offer you choice — you can share revenue with Google with topical ads or further control presentation and branding options with the use of XML. We've also developed APIs for our developers and partners.

We wanted to celebrate this week, not just with customized cake, but by treating you to something special. Website owners have always asked about more power and more customization of search results, so we're happy to introduce Custom Search Themes, Structured Custom Search and the Custom Search Wikipedia skin. You can read details about these new features right here on the Custom Search blog. And, starting today, you can follow us at our new Twitter account @googlecse.

Custom Search Themes — Now, with the ultra-configurable Element, you can pick from among a set of convenient layouts and slick styles for your search results. Themes enable well-designed interactive results that you can use instantly on your website and also offer maximum flexibility to further customize every aspect of results presentation. There's also a compact layout for a great mobile experience when using an Android-powered phone, iPhone, iPod Touch or Palm Pre. When you create a Custom Search engine, a mobile home page is automatically created for you.

Structured Custom Search — You know your website and data better than anyone. We already return Rich Snippet metadata attributes in XML results if you provide structured metadata through markup on your pages. Starting today, special attributes, such as Thumbnails and Actions, will be rendered in Custom Search results. More exciting, you can now restrict your search results by specific attributes, based on the metadata that you provide. Custom metadata attributes and custom query restricts will make your searches truly structured.

Wikipedia Custom Search Skin — If you use Wikipedia for research, the Custom Search Wikipedia skin provides highly contextual search results when you search within Wikipedia. You get Google search across all Wikipedia articles as well as topical results based on the links on the Wikipedia article you are currently reading. We think this makes for faster research.

Search is now an expected way to quickly find and navigate information, but there are still many millions of websites out there that don't even have a search box. We hope that these powerful Custom Search tools will help get high-quality search quickly enabled on these websites. After all, you can configure a Custom Search box for your website in minutes!