How can a search be done for one item on multiple sites of one’s choice?
Such as searching multiple movie sites of one’s own selection for a particular
movie to watch to find which ones offer it? Or searching multiple shopping
sites of one’s own selection for a single item to find out which stores and
shopping sites offer that item? And perhaps to compare the prices? I searched
this question and cannot find an exact answer, probably because the question
itself is complicated.
I am primarily using IE 8 and Windows 7, but do use other primary browsers,
and so do your subscribers who also would benefit from this question. Maybe it
can’t be done, but it’s very time consuming and frustrating to search each site
of your own preference for a particular book, movie, or TV show to watch.
I’m not trying to search multiple search engines at once, such as Dogpile, or
to combine several search engines of my own choice. I hope this question is
clear and complete enough for the examples given per your criteria regarding
In this excerpt from
Answercast #13, I look at how to use Google’s Custom Search Engine function
to search multiple sites at the same time.
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
Search multiple sites
Absolutely. And in fact, I have done this; I will tell you that it is not
I have a solution in place for this that I use myself. It’s exposed on Ask
If you do a search on Ask Leo! for a topic, and you don’t like what you find
in the search results, near the bottom of the search results you will find
another box that says “Search Partners.” That is a search box that uses a
Google Custom Search Engine.
Google Custom Search Engine
What you’re allowed to do with a Custom Search Engine is set up a search
over a specific set of sites.
So, mine, for example, includes sites like Annoyances.org, AskBobRankin.com,
AskDaveTaylor.com, Daves Computer Tips, DaniWeb, Fax Answers, GroovyPost… In
other words, a bunch of websites that are related to my technical scope. These
are sites that I have some level of trust in, that, if you’re not going to find an
answer on my site, maybe you’ll find it on one of these.
Setting up custom search
The thing to do is to go to Google.com/cse (that’s CSE for Custom Search Engine).
You can create a custom search engine of your own that you can use for
exactly this kind of thing. The downside is that it’s a little work to set it
It’s not something that’s easy to change. If you want one for movies and
one for shopping, you could certainly set up more than one. But if say today, I
want to search these three stores for shoes, and tomorrow, I want to search
these five stores for shoes, you actually have to go in and change the custom
That’s the only solution that I’m actually aware of. It’s a robust solution;
it’s built off of Google and it works fairly well. That’s the kind of thing
I think it’s going to take to solve the problem as you’ve laid it out.