Google Launches Hosted Website
Search for SMBs"> There are a couple of "interesting" things about this announcement, Matt Brown, search analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass., told eWEEK. "One is that this is software as a servicea subscription-based service thats designed for enterprises to search their corporate sites," Brown said. "No ones really doing that for business right now. That whole concept is new.Click here to read about Googles bid to join in the FCCs spectrum auction. Microsofts competing product,
SharePoint Server for Search, retails at about $4,000, Brown said.
"IBM has a product called IBM OmniFind Yahoo Edition that is a competitor, but still, its an installed search engine," Brown said. "The software package is free for up to half a million documents. But the problem is, you still have to buy a server to install it on, and you have to have IT people to manage it."
Alternatively, there is Lucene,an open source search engine written entirely in Java that is available for free download from the Apache Foundation, Brown said. But IT expertise also is requiredcoding, installation, maintenanceto make that work, Brown said.
"This [Google Custom Search Business Edition] is a very different offering. Pretty much anyone out there can go out and provision a little slice of the Google.com index for use in their business," Brown said.
"This is great from the perspective of companies that want to add that kind of search capability to their site," Rebecca Wettemann, search analyst with Nucleus Research in Wellesley, Mass., told eWEEK.
"Thats a lot of utility for anybody whos visiting [a site]. It also enables the smaller site players who couldnt afford an investment in a broader site management searching tool to really make their sites a lot more usable and customer-friendly."
There are two ends of the spectrum in Web site search, Wettemann said.
"Theres the basic text-based searching that I can do with a Web site utility, where Id get the data dump of everything that remotely resembles what Ive searched for," Wettemann said. "And then there are Web site search tools that you can integrate. Those tools tend to be comparatively costlyfrom a licensing and support perspectivecompared to [Googles] 100 bucks a year."
What Google Custom Search Business Edition will give businesses a clear alternative to specific software search tools "that are too expensive, given the value it provides for a Web site, when they can leverage the same kind of value using Google," Wettemann said.
Google is taking full advantage of the hot on-demand business model, she added.
"This is a perfect example of where it makes no sense for a company to manage and support this themselves," Wettemann said. "As search technology evolves, it gets betterthe benefits of the incremental value associated with those enhancements are transparent when delivered over to the user.
"And they [customers] dont have to support it. For this, they get customers who potentially spend more time at their Web site and spend more money, eventually, with them."
To sign up for Google Custom Search Business Edition, go here.
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"Also, the price point makes it very attractive. I can see it being very attractive to companies that have never bought search before, or want to just try it out and see how it works," Brown added.