Google announced early this morning that they have updated their Site Search product to provide for on demand indexing of your site. What this means is that if you are using Google's Site Search feature to provide visitors to your web site with a tool to search your site, you can always keep that on site search tool up to date. It is important to note that this new tool does NOT provide on demand indexing for your site in Google's general index.
Nonetheless, this is a very cool tool, so let's walk through a quick scenario. Imagine that you have a site where you have added a substantial amount of new content. Perhaps you have added 100 pages of new articles and data to the site. Prior to this announcement, you would have had to wait for the Googlebot to come along and find those changes, and for them to be incorporated in the index before your Site Search would be able to search on that new content.
Now, with today's announcement, you can go into the configuration screen for your Site Search, request on demand indexing, and a fresh crawl will be done of your entire site. This data is then made available to users who use Site Search on your site, in real time.
This is a really neat enhancement, ensuring that you can always offer users a full and robust search function on your site, even immediately after you have made massive changes.
Last night I spoke with Nitin Mangtani, the lead product manager for Google Enterprise Search, and he indicated that the new functionality would not be possible without Google's cloud computing architecture. Basically, the index for your Site Search is unique in nature.
If there was only one copy of that index (perhaps on a Google server near your web site's hosting location), people all over the world would have to access that server (causing potentially large latencies) to get the data from that index. The cloud computing architecture used by Google results in your unique index being distributed across the globe, and eliminates those latencies.