martinibuster - 6:03 am on Sep 18, 2012 (gmt 0)
They are their rules.
TOS. Terms Of Service.
The obligation is you follow their rules or you get turfed.
Those are the terms of service for using the Google search box, with emphasis on the interface itself. It's not about how to build websites. Here is the link [google.com].
Donít misuse our Services. For example, donít interfere with our Services or try to access them using a method other than the interface and the instructions that we provide.
That covers things like automated queries, for example. As far as the content belonging to us, the web publishers, here is what the terms state:
Our Services display some content that is not Googleís. This content is the sole responsibility of the entity that makes it available. We may review content to determine whether it is illegal or violates our policies, and we may remove or refuse to display content that we reasonably believe violates our policies or the law. But that does not necessarily mean that we review content, so please donít assume that we do.
The part about policies is a vague catchall and does not specifically apply to the guidelines. It's more relevant to their privacy policies and other things of that nature. The important point is that the TOS you are referencing is for the Google Search Box as well as Google services like Google Accounts. They are not about how to build websites, except to say that the sites displayed are the responsibility of the web publishers, that's us.
Now contrast the Terms of Service for using the Google Search Box that you quoted (and is irrelevant to this discussion) with the actual Google Webmaster Guidelines [support.google.com], which is what we're really discussing.
Best practices to help Google find, crawl, and index your site
That is what I have described. It's just a best practice for finding, crawling and indexing your site. Those aren't rules. Those are Google's suggestions of how to stay within what they consider best practices to help them find your site, understand your site, and to rank your site.