Google Search Appliance Now Indexes Docs, Sites, Twitter

Google Oct. 18 said its Google Search Appliance 6.8 now indexes Google Docs, Google Sites and people profiles, helping the company compete with Vivisimo, Endeca and Microsoft.

Google Oct. 18 said it has added Google Docs, Google Sites and people profiles as new sources its Google Search Appliance is now surfacing for enterprises.

Google Search Appliance is a computer server that Google sells to provide enterprises with private, secure search capabilities for their business information. The appliance starts at $15,000 per year. Software upgrades cost nothing for existing customers.

GSA, as Google calls the appliance, began indexing basic business information eight years ago, but has grown to reveal content from additional sources, such as enterprise content management systems and SAP and enterprise applications.

With the rise of Web-based or cloud applications, Google is turning those capabilities loose on its own software programs, Rajat Mukherjee, group product manager for Google Enterprise Search, told eWEEK.

With a new feature called Cloud Connect in GSA 6.8, the company is now letting business users search cloud content in addition to on-premise content.

Starting today, Cloud Connect displays personalized results from Google Docs and Google Sites on the right side of the user's computer screen, with results from more traditional repositories, such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint and content management systems retaining their usual position on the left.

This means users will be able to access many of their Google applications, including documents, spreadsheets, presentations and Websites.

GSA's expansion to help businesses index Docs and Sites content could be especially attractive to the larger of the 3 million businesses using the cloud-based Google Apps.

These companies are already leveraging Google's cloud to enable their workers to collaborate on knowledge management and other projects, so it makes perfect sense to offer a way to let businesses find the content they create in Docs and Sites.

"If you can improve the search solution, then you can dramatically reduce the inefficiency of these systems," Mukherjee said.

Cloud Connect also lets users search Twitter and blogs and industry Websites via Google Site Search.

Finding the correct contacts across departments in business is also a major requirement of enterprise search products.

The new People Search in GSA 6.8 helps users find industry experts and contact co-workers right from the right-hand side of the search results page.

Some other features Mukherjee called attention to include a new dynamic navigation feature that lets users modify queries, and Active-Active Mirroring, which shuttles search traffic across multiple boxes.

Google competes with several vendors in enterprise search, including Vivisimo, Endeca, and Microsoft's Fast Search, as well as the open source Lucene enterprise search software.