Google Aug. 19 rolled out a side-by-side search comparison and new Salesforce.com connectors for the GSA, the company's first enterprise search upgrades since Google launched Google Search Appliance 6.0 to help companies sift through billions of documents.
A free download from Google Enterprise Labs, the side-by-side search comparison lets workers query two different search engines, such as GSA 6.0 or Microsoft's Fast search, to see which gives better results.
Query results are presented in two panes on the screen. Searchers can then vote on their preferred results by choosing the Policy A or B buttons. The admin can then use that information to choose and configure the right search solution for the business.
Cyrus Mistry, product manager for Google Enterprise, said in a video demonstration that the admin decides the queries to be tested. Employees visit an internal Website to see the queries and vote on which search results they prefer.
After employees have voted, the tool shows them which tool received the most votes. It also shows the probabilities and confidence interval that any given configuration is better than the other, as well as whether there is enough data to be statistically significant.
"All of the Side-by-Side administration can be done with a simple web interface, and admins can anonymize each panel, so users don't know which search engine or setting powers which set of results," Mistry explained in a blog post. "Essentially, admins can now test any search products they want and provide their organization with the setting or solution that employees rate highest."
Essentially, searchers in the workplace are the guinea pigs for this test, helping to improve search across the company's intranet. This is important at a time when companies all over the world are struggling to provide their workers with accurate, relevant search results to find information in human resources applications or other content repositories.
To enable employees searching their company intranet to see search results from several company data systems in one page, GSA needs to be able to crawl content repositories. To do this, Google's enterprise search team uses connectors that integrate data from file and content systems, such as Microsoft SharePoint, IBM FileNet and EMC Documentum.
Google now has a connector that hooks into Salesforce.com. This allows GSA to crawl the Salesforce.com CRM application to help employees search documents and objects stored in Salesforce.
Side-by-side search and the connectors are two tools Google will use to try to extend its enterprise search user base, which now sits at about 25,000. Google is competing with Microsoft Fast, Vivisimo, Endeca and several others in the enterprise search niche.