At first look Topicle may seem to be a new vertical search engine. But taking a closer look would reveal that it is just a repackaged search engine utilizing Google Custom Search. Developed by ex-Googler product manager Steffen Mueller, Topicle is a good improvement of the straight-forward Google Custom Search.
Ironically, Topicle’s About page never mentioned about using Google CSE although the logo appears on actually Topicle search engine results page. Was it intentional on Mueller’s plan? Go figure.Does Topicle offer anything new in the vertical search engine niche? Unfortunately, nothing much except for the fact that the customized topical search engine crawls only sites which have been identified by users. So, it pretty much limits your search results. The list of site would grow only upon site submission for the users themselves. There goes your “human powered search engine” kind of thing.
Topicle currently has several customized topical search engines already. But users can are still free to add their own search engines. Creating new engines takes only two steps and works pretty much like in Google CSE. But creating a custom search engine in Topicle is faster than in Google CSE. The advantages of being an ex-Googler were definitely put to use by Mueller.
Bottomline? Topicle is still Google CSE. If you are looking for something different, it is definitely not. But if you want to see how Google CSE can be put into good use, Topicle is definitely a good example.