Google Helps Users Get More Out of Its Biz Tools

The search king wants to jump-start the stagnant market of business-class search. Its secret weapon is a team of experts working to smooth installation bumps.

Google Inc. announced a kind of Google school for systems integrators and other initiatives Thursday in order to bolster sales of its specialized search products for businesses.

The new effort is, in essence, a program to train and otherwise assist systems integrators, consultants, resellers and corporate information technology managers in all things Google.

Googles search engine, the worlds most popular, isnt considered to be confusing to users. But some Google users do have problems, specifically managers of office computer networks using a class of Google products designed for businesses.

And its not when they install the $10,000 servers and Google software—that process is a relative breeze, according to Jupiter Research analyst Eric Peterson.

But theres no real system in place to help information technology professionals to adapt the goods even further, something employees that get a taste of enterprise search typically ask for.

"The reality is that search is much more complex than that," Peterson said.

Google has, like other search companies before it, tried and so far failed to ignite the market for enterprise-class versions of search products.

To date, revenues from sales of Google search appliances are only a few percentage points of overall Google revenue, said Dave Girouard, a Google general manager. The market as a whole, led by U.K.-based Autonomy, and including Microsoft, and others, is "undersized," Girouard said.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more from columnist David Coursey about Googles advertising goals.

Enterprise search falls under the category that number-crunching analysts call "workforce optimization."

Analysts at Datamonitor predict $1 billion in sales of such services and gear by 2006.

"Its true, the markets been tried and hasnt taken off," said Googles Girouard. "Products were too expensive, and theres too much work to get anything done. But we think theres a huge appetite."

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