Google Overhauls Enterprise Search Box

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-06-02 Print this article Print

The company boosts its search appliance's index capacity and query performance for its enterprise business, which still dwarfs its Web search business.

Google Inc. has overhauled its enterprise search appliance by doubling its size and increasing its capacity and query performance. The Mountain View, Calif., search company on Wednesday released its first major update of the Google Search Appliance since launching it two years ago. The appliance is targeted to enterprises, universities and organizations wanting to use Googles search technology both for their intranets as well as their public-facing Web sites, said Dave Girouard, general manager of Googles enterprise business. The newest appliance, now in a 2u form factor, can crawl and index as many as 1.5 million documents from one box, five times more than in the previous version, Girouard said. Google also sped up query processing, supporting 300 queries per minute, compared with 60 in the earlier version.
As far as the crawling itself, the updated appliance continuously spiders documents rather than conduct crawls in daily or weekly batches, Girouard said.
"The result is fresher content and documents that are more up to date in the system," he said. The constant crawling also helps IT departments by preventing bandwidth usage spikes that could be caused during batch crawls, Girouard said. Despite Googles lead in the Web search market, it has not gained as much traction in the enterprise search market. The Google Search Appliance remains a small part of Googles overall business. In 2003, revenue from licensing and other non-advertising sources accounted for $45.3 million of Googles $961.9 million in revenue, or about 5 percent, according to the companys S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Read more here about Googles recent filing for an initial public offering. For enterprise search, Google competes with a wide range of companies including FAST Search & Transfer ASA, Verity Inc. and IBM. Its search appliance targets documents exposed via HTTP, commonly through a Web server. Googles selling point for its enterprise appliance has been the way it mimics Googles overall Web search. Search results, by default, appear in a similar style as those on its popular search site. The appliance also includes the same software and hardware configuration as Google uses in its own data centers, Girouard said. Click here to read more about Googles plans for its enterprise business. With the newest appliance, Google has added support for single sign-on security and allows enterprises to create an unlimited number of "collections," or discrete search engines, for different departments or set of users. The Google Search Appliance is available in three models. Pricing for the stand-alone GB-1001 model ranges between $32,000 for a 150,000-document index and $175,000 for a 1.5 million-document index. The appliance is also available as a five-way cluster, the GB-5005, and as a 12-way cluster, the GB-8008. Check out eWEEK.coms Enterprise Applications Center at for the latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion about productivity and business solutions. Be sure to add our enterprise applications news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page:  
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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