Google Toolbar Aims for the Enterprise

The company continues its push into enterprise search with a new version of its free Web browser tool bar.

Google Toolbar for Enterprise, made available Monday as a beta, is the search companys first Web browser tool bar to target corporate-class computer networks.

The feature is proof that Google continues to aggressively challenge Autonomy, Fast Search & Transfer, and other popular enterprise search providers.

Google also unveiled on Monday a beta update of its regular tool bar.

The most notable of the new features found on both is "Send To," which allows Web pages to be distributed either through Googles free Gmail e-mail, via SMS (Short Message Service) cell phone text messaging or by posting directly to blogs.

While known more for its enormously popular Internet search engine, Googles latest tool bar is part of its aggressive recent moves into the corporate search market.

/zimages/6/28571.gifEMC offers Google desktop search to corporate customers. Click here to read more.

At stake is the estimated $600 million annually that corporations spend to improve their computer networks search and collaboration capabilities. Enterprise search falls into the category of "workforce optimization." Analysts at Datamonitor predict $1 billion in sales of such services and gear by 2006.

Right now, Googles enterprise division, which has about 2,000 corporate clients, ranks far behind that of Verity, the market leader, which has an estimated 15,000 corporate clients. Verity was recently purchased by Autonomy.

But enterprise search competitors "havent seen anything like this [release] before," Google Senior Product Manager Matthew Glotzbach said of in an interview Monday.

The free Google business-class tool bar can link to employee directories and other facets of a corporate intranet. It also uses a popular Microsoft Corp. installer program to help widen its appeal.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about how competitors Yahoo and Verity are reacting to Googles enterprise search moves.

Internet interests like Google typically make features available through tool bars, which are programs that embed into Web browsers or computer desktops. The user interface is found just below the browsers Web address entry blank.

Tool bars tie an Internet service more directly to the browser. In the case of a search engine, theres no longer the need to steer the browser manually to a new Web address. This may sound like a small step to get rid of, but it can make a big difference in traffic to a search engine, say industry watchers.

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