Google-To-Go: Company Upgrades Enterprise Search Product

Google’s upgrade to its enterprise level Google Search Appliance (GSA) contains “a lot more beefy hardware,” according to Enterprise General Manager Dave Girouard. The bright yellow box, perforated with Swiss cheese-like holes, is thinner, faster and more robust than earlier versions. Girouard claims it’s able to handle up to 300 queries per minute, and index 1.5 million documents.

The search company likes to claim the appliance was built in response to pleas of “Why can’t I have Google inside my own company?” from frustrated corporate searchers and IT staff who find it easier to search the Web than their own Web sites. One of the primary benefits of the new appliance, Google claims, is near plug-and-play functionality. “Integration is typically 70 to 80 percent of the whole cost of internal search, and the software’s no good,” said Girouard. “You shouldn’t need a couple of days of people tweaking results.”

The new GSA, intended for use behind firewalls, on very large public-facing sites and for corporate Intranets, is configurable both in terms of interface and filtered results. The company claims that once it’s deployed, internal site search stats soar. Girouard says one client, National Semiconductor, saw 8 to 10 times the number of internal searches after deploying the box.

Another feature of the new box is “intelligent crawl,” which Girouard likens to a “continuous Google dance.” Instead of periodic updates, the appliance ceaselessly crawls a site in search of new pages and documents. The $32,000 appliance includes two years of regular remote updates from Google.

Because Google is in the quiet period before its initial public offering, company executives wouldn’t comment on whether the GSA might eventually be integrated with the company’s Froogle site. Such functionality would ease the listing process for e-commerce players.

GSA is currently used by some 500 clients, including Pfizer, Xerox, Nextel, P&G, the U.S. Army and the City of San Diego.

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