<p>In a move that once again puts Google into closer competition with Microsoft, the search giant launched today a fee-based, hosted site search service targeted at small and medium businesses.
<p>The new Google Custom Search Business Edition helps SMBs add search capabilities to their Web sites. A free version displays ads, while businesses with more complex sites can buy the Google Search Appliance to provide site and intranet search behind the firewall.
<p>Google Custom Search Business Edition gives customers the option to display ads and the ability to customize search results. Google will provide e-mail and telephone support. Indexing up to 5,000 pages will cost $100 a year, while 50,000 pages costs $500. Prices start at $15,000 for 1 million pages and more.
<p>The new search offering marks Google's latest foray into hosted services for businesses. Many of those hosted services, such as Google Apps, compete marginallyand some say directlywith Microsoft's long-established desktop software market.
<p>Google's Custom Search Business Edition is likely to compete with Microsoft's own version of enterprise search.