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Google boosts corporate search offerings

Google Inc., Mountain View, Calif., took another step behind the corporate firewall last week with the unveiling of a new high-end search product in its new Google Search Appliance line. The product line, a group of integrated hardware-software offerings that utilize Google's popular search technology, aims to let employees and customers find information within corporate intranets and Web sites; it was unveiled last spring.

The new GB-5005 is aimed at organizations requiring dedicated search service of up to 3 million documents. The GB-5005, five clustered servers that can plug into an existing corporate IT infrastructure, is described by Google officials as ''ideal for dedicated, high-priority search services, such as customer-facing Web sites and company-wide intranet applications.'' Other products in the product line include the low-end, Linux-based GB-1001, designed for departments and mid-sized companies, and the GB-8008, designed for centralized deployments supporting global business units.

Google also unveiled enhancements to the earlier Search Appliance line offerings. The enhancements include:

* Security updates that allow users to search information protected by basic authentication or Microsoft NTLM. All documents from protected Web servers are kept within the Google Search Appliance. Users performing searches see only the documents to which they have access authorization in the search results.

* More timely results. Both the newly released GB-5005 and the top of the line GB-8008 can now perform incremental updates designed to allow administrators to create two layers of searchable information -- a fast-changing top layer for important documents, updated hourly, and a larger base layer that can be updated every day.

* Increased capacity: The GB-8008 can now search up to 7 million documents from a single query, an increase of 75% over the previous software version, according to company representatives. This increased capacity should make it possible for administrators to speed up the time required to deliver search results to the user.

Google Inc. jumped on the enterprise bandwagon earlier this year, expanding into the corporate search business alongside a number of well-established competitors, including Verity, Autonomy, Inktomi and CMGI Inc.'s AltaVista.

The company scored some early wins with the offering in the aerospace, technology, broadcasting, retail and education markets. Its initial customer list included The Boeing Company, Cisco Systems, PBS.org, National Semiconductor Corp., Sur La Table and the University of Florida, among others.

Google updated that list last week, announcing new Google Search Appliance customers in the government, health, education and biotech sectors. Among the company's newest enterprise customers are the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Education, the California Department of Transportation, the State of Indiana, Kaiser Permanente, the University of Michigan College of Engineering and Medtronic Inc.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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