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Custom Search with Vertex AI Search

Mark Ryan
5 min readJan 5, 2024

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The easy way to get a web page with search scoped to your choice of URLs

Vertex AI Search makes it easy to create customized, generative AI-powered search experiences. I recently wrote an article that showed how to use Vertex AI Search to ask natural language queries about a PDF file. In that article I hinted at another feature of Vertex AI Search — shovel-ready code that you can include in a web page to share your customized search experience. In this article I’ll show you how to take advantage of this feature of Vertex AI Search to create a web page that includes a search you defined in Vertex AI Search.

Step 1: define an app in Vertex AI Search

I am currently working with Google’s generative AI applications and I want to be able to search the related documentation. However, the generative AI function is available in two flavours, inside and outside Google Cloud, each of which has its own documentation set:

  • Outside of Google Cloud: ai.google.dev/
  • Within Google Cloud : cloud.google.com/vertex-ai/docs/generative-ai/

I can define a Vertex AI Search app to search these two sets of documentation at the same time. First, in Search and Conversation in Google Cloud, I click on New App:

In the Create App page, I select Search as the app type:

I follow the same steps in the App configurations page as I described in my previous article on Vertex AI Search, and then click on Create New Data Store:

In the Create a new data store page, I select Website URLs as the data source:

Then I specify the URLs I want the search to run against and click Continue.

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Mark Ryan

Technical writing manager at Google. Opinions expressed are my own.