Custom Website Search



This service provides University department website owners access to Google’s Programmable Search Engine (formerly called Custom Search Engine) with the ability to return advertisement-free search results. 

Who is this service for?

University academic and administrative department websites


You must have a University netID that is enabled to work with Google Apps. Faculty, staff, and graduate students admitted after Fall 2019 typically already have it enabled. After setting up the Programmable Search Engine, you must request that OIT designate your search engine as nonprofit so that the search engine owner can disable the ads. 

Setting up the search engine using a service account versus an individual account is highly recommended. Access to the search engine by the University can be obtained via the service account if an individual leaves the University.  

What is the cost?

At this time, there is no cost for this service. However, you may incur costs to have it installed on your website.


OIT will provide access to the service and enable the capability to have ad-free search results. All other support questions should be directed to Google. For more information about Programmable Search Engine, refer to Google's documentation.

The Programmable Search Engine can be added to a website. Fees may apply. If you need help adding the search engine and have a Princeton Site Builder website (provided by Web Development Services) contact OIT for assistance.

Getting Started

  1. Make sure your netID is enabled to work with Google Apps. (Note that this step is typically not applicable to individuals admitted after Fall 2019.)
  2. Log in to Google Programmable Search Engine with your Princeton netID and password.
  3. Add a new search engine.
  4. Add a secondary Owner. In the Members section, we recommended adding a secondary owner for redundancy in case of personnel changes. Additionally, consider utilizing a service account for added security.
  5. Remove the advertisements.
    1. Only the Owner (not the Administrator) of the search engine will see the Ads setting, between the Members and Programmatic Access sections. The settings panel will only mention that nonprofit organizations are able to disable ads, but it will not yet display the "Show Ads" settings toggle.
    2. Go to the Members section and add as an Administrator for your search engine.
    3. Request Help from OIT to designate your search engine as a nonprofit version of the Programmable Search Engine.
    4. After OIT confirms the change, the Owner of the search engine should now be able to toggle the Show Ads setting.
  6. Continue configuring your search engine, as needed.
  7. Install the search engine on your web application or website. If your website is built within the Princeton Site Builder platform, email to have it installed.