The new licensing, announced Wednesday, chiefly affects the Google Mini appliance, effectively doubling the Google Minis document capacity while nearly halving the price.
The Google Mini now will be able to search as many as 100,000 documents at a company, up from 50,000 under the previous licensing, at a cost of $2,995, down from $4,995 under the previous licensing. Those prices include one year of support. The price for the second year of support drops from $2,500 to $995.
The Google Search Appliance capacity gets increased to 500,000 documents, up from 150,000, with the license price dropping from $32,000 to $30,000, including two years of support.
Saying that customer demand brought about the price drop, Google Inc. officials in Mountain View, Calif., conceded that the previous licensing was hindering the use of Googles appliances throughout organizations, as opposed to just in specific departments.
Officials said the scale of Googles growing business, for both enterprise search and Web search, enabled the company to pass on cost savings to enterprise customers.
The licensing change "couldnt have come at a better time," according to John Neubauer, legal administrator at Blitman & King LLP, a law firm in Syracuse, N.Y. In a little over a month of using the Google Mini, Neubauer said he found that the appliance exceeded his expectations of how easily it could search documents, including documents in users private network directories and hard-copy documents scanned as PDFs.
"Now that Ive been doing this and Ive got the thing crawling, Im already at the edge of my license—45,000 documents," he said. "Theyre expanding that out, and Im pretty excited about that."
The licensing change means that not only will the firm not have to upgrade to the Google Search Appliance, it will pay a lower price for the Google Mini.
The appliance also has saved the firm from having to deploy a full-scale document management system, which Neubauer said would require a user buy-in to use the product properly and save documents in specific, often hard-to-find folders.
"Here, weve bypassed the whole buy-in process," he said. "Using the same interface [as Google.com], you do a basic search and you can pluck out documents in a heartbeat. Its really pretty amazing," he said.
While customers automatically will be changed over to the new licensing scheme, refunds will not be issued to customers who paid under the old licensing scheme, Google officials said.
Company officials also said a Google enterprise desktop search product is "in the works" and that an announcement will be made "in the not-too-distant future."