Interest-specific Search Engines

One of my favourite Google products is their Custom Search Engine (CSE) feature. It allows you to create walled-garden search engines that return results only for chosen selection of websites. This is ideal for creating interest-specific search engines.

These days they seem to be calling the feaure Google Programmable Search, though I’m not quite sure where the programmable aspect comes in? Back in 2006 the feature was introduced as Google Co-op, but whatever. I mention those only for SEO purposes! Cheeky.

I’ve been using CSEs for years to help with finding files related to my various hobby interests, mostly retro gaming and computing. Heck, for a few years a decade ago my way of downloading music files was through a CSE I called “one click wonder”. They work really well.

Given the nature of the web, and the fact that CSEs benefit from continued maintenance, a lot of mine have gradually withered away. But a few of them have survived the test of time.

Listed below are a handful of what I would consider are the most useful CSEs I’ve created, I won’t list the domains involved because the information would need to be updated over time, but you can try each one and use the top tabs to get a handle on exactly which sites are being indexed.

Classic Macintosh

Software and PDF books downloads for pre-OSX Macintosh systems.


Software downloads for PalmOS-based devices.

Japanese Software

Software downloads for vintage systems: Windows, Macintosh, Sharp X68000, PC-98, Palm, etc.

ROM Finder

Classic/retro video game ROMs, ISOs, disc images.


Consumer Electronics operation manual or user guide PDFs.

Ace Answers

Vintage FAQs and repair guides for the Toyota TownAce and Space Cruiser vehicles.

Comments: @gingerbeardman