Ever since the launch of Custom Search, users have asked us to provide more flexible options to integrate search into their websites. Today, we’re launching a set of new layout options for your Custom Search experience. If you go to the Look and feel tab, you’ll see a set of new layouts that you can choose from, as shown in the screenshot below.

The Two page and Results only layouts give you more flexibility than the Two column layout, which still requires the search box and results to reside on the same web page.

All of the above layouts are powered by the Custom Search Element. The new Google-hosted layout also embeds the Element on a Google-hosted page. This is because the Element offers greater flexibility and interactivity, font control, better customization using themes and style sheets, out-of-box metadata support for thumbnails and actions, support for client-side control over results presentation, and a superior mobile experience for smart phones and tablets.

There are a couple of additional reasons why all the new layouts use the Element (and we’ll continue to deliver new functionality this way too). We want all Custom Search users to be able to easily turn on upcoming new features on for their site visitors. Consolidating to the Element also allows us deliver features faster.

Along with these new layouts, we are also officially phasing out results presentation via the iframe. If you host results in an iframe today, you will see this option marked deprecated in the Look and Feel tab in the control panel. We encourage you to migrate as soon as possible to one of the Element-based layouts. We plan to replace iframe results soon to use embedded Elements. This will happen first with all existing Google-hosted results pages, which currently embed iframes.

So stay tuned -- there are exciting new features coming to Custom Search. And as always, we welcome your feedback.

Posted by: Ying Huang and Liang Ch'ng, Software Engineers