Rumors from TechCrunch of the Google Mini search appliance's demise were apparently ill-founded.
The company today upgraded the search appliance for SMBs, which starts at $2,990 for a two-year contract that handles 50,000 documents, with a few new features that point toward more granular search capabilities.
This upgrade is a surprise when you consider TechCrunch's report (it is portrayed as a rumor) that the Mini would be replaced by a cloud-based solution.
A Google spokesperson told me the Mini is here to stay. Perhaps Google is planning to offer hosted search in addition to the Mini? The spokesperson told me the company has nothing further to announce at this time.
Was some mischief maker jerking TechCrunch's chain? My guess is we may found out soon, so watch for an update on TechCrunch.
Anyway, on to the new features. Cyrus Mistry, enterprise product manager for Google, wrote in a blog post today that the Mini can now securely crawl and serve the files company employees store on shared servers so other employees can access them.
The idea is to find this info super quick instead of asking users where the files are. This can be a super pain for the searcher, as well as the person who gets interrupted with questions about these files.
Also, like a ratings index, a new source biasing utility lets users provide the appliance URL patterns to tell it if results should be weighted higher or lower.
So, if there are several versions of a document, the Mini will likely return you a link to the published documents so you don't have to go searching for the freshest info among drafts. Or, as Google put it, perhaps files from a certain server are less important, so they will be put to the back of the search queue.
This will easily save searchers beaucoup time.
Further down the granularity rabbit hole is the date biasing feature, which like the source biasing tool finds users the more relevant document by picking the newer one.
Finally, the Google Mini is registering six more languages in the administrative screens and help documentation: Basque, Catalan, Galician, Greek, Hungarian and Polish.
Mistry said that users who own a Mini will be able to download the new features shortly.
The Mini upgrade comes less than two months after Mistry spoke at Gartner's Emerging Trends conference, where he discussed the need for enterprise search to become more like general purpose search: granular yet inclusive to allow users to find specific documents.
He did not drill down into the Mini but proudly touted Google's enterprise search efforts, noting that Google's 700-plus search quality engineers are hard at work optimizing the company's enterprise search tools.
Google is broadly considered the market leader in enterprise search, but Microsoft, thanks to its purchase of Fast, is expected to come on strong.
Vivisimo, Endeca, Autonomy and a host of independent players round out the market, which Gartner said has hardly cracked the $1 billion mark and has barely scratched its potential.