Google is expanding the reach of its enterprise search technology to give users of corporate intranets and customer Web sites more effective search results.
The search vendor announced on Oct. 10 that it had enhanced its search appliance to find and aggregate any objects sitting in enterprise content management systems, as well as its own Google Apps cloud.
Google Search Appliance 5.0 connects to Microsoft SharePoint, IBM FileNet, EMC Documentum, OpenText LiveLink and other ECM applications out of the box, joining search support for intranets, file shares, databases and enterprise applications.
The idea of this release is to bring Googles universal search strategy, which includes collecting links to Web sites, blogs, images and video on one search page, to enterprise search, said Nitin Mangtani, lead product manager for enterprise search with Google in Mountain View, Calif.
"Inside the enterprise, you have a lot of applications that have their own searches, but there is no single place to get unified search across all of your applications," Mangtani told eWEEK. Search Appliance 5.0 addresses that siloed search approach.
Enterprise search is a relatively tame market compared with its cousin, consumer-oriented search, but the stakes are high because the providers want to snap up as many corporate customers as possible. Googles rivals in the space include Autonomy, Fast Search and Transfer, as well as Endeca and Vivisimo, both of which have recently jazzed up their platforms.
Vivisimo explores social search. Read more here.
With more than 1,500 businesses signing up to use Google Apps per day, the search vendor finds itself challenged to increase the suites functionality and value.
For example, Mangtani said Google is extending Search Appliance 5.0 outside the firewall to its own Apps suite, allowing users to search for documents, e-mail and other documents. This is done through Googles OneBox API (application programming interface), which "calls" the Google Apps API, Mangtani said.
Search Appliance 5.0 boasts other new features, including Data Biasing, which allows IT administrators to influence the way the appliance ranks search results based on the URLs, content type or system. This feature favors more recent content, raising its relevance.
The box is also now more secure, thanks to Googles addition of support for Microsoft WIA (Windows Integrated Authentication), enhanced performance for its SAML-based (Security Assertion Markup Language) Authentication and Authorization API, and new secure search for file system content.
Search Appliance 5.0 is available for free upgrade for customers using previous iterations of the product, which starts at $30,000 for as many as 500,000 documents and scales from there. Users may upgrade via software download or directly through the Internet.
Click here to read more about Googles enterprise search plans.
In related enterprise search news, Mangtani introduced Googles Enterprise Labs, a Web site that is a business companion to the companys Labs site for testing software.
Initial features on this site include Search-as-you-Type, which essentially saves users from typing out full queries. For example, corporate users looking for a colleague may enter the employees first name and the tool will offer an "auto complete" option, offering to fill in the persons last name so users save time typing.
Google Enterprise Labs is also dipping its ladle in the social search well, offering Wiki KeyMatch, which lets users automatically promote specific Web pages for certain search terms, rather than asking an administrator for such rights.
Finally, the new Parametric Search tool allows an end user to enter a keyword to refine search results.
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