Google reaches further into the enterprise

Google reaches further into the enterprise

Search giant's new enterprise box should simplify application searches

Google has launched a new search appliance for corporates that can trawl their back-end systems for data and present it to staff via a single, familiar search interface.

Google OneBox for Enterprise has been developed through a series of new partnerships with IT giants including Oracle, Cisco and SAS. The system lets staff retrieve data from business intelligence applications, databases or customer relationship management (CRM) systems via a Google front-end.

"It [used to be hard] to find information in an organisation with the problems of data [in separate] silos," said Google's Matthew Glotzbach. "But we asked what if from a single search box you could have access to all the information [in your enterprise] securely, very fast and reliably?"

Google also launched an enterprise developer programme, with a web site for developers to access Google Enterprise SDKs. A new API in the Google Search Appliance (GSA) will let developers build OneBox modules and integrate them with home-grown legacy applications, Glotzbach added. The GSA also adds external metadata indexing capabilities and better security, with support for third-party authentication.

Angela Ashenden of analyst Ovum said Google was approaching the corporate search market from a "grass roots" perspective. "It's a good way of getting buy-in from the people in an enterprise who will be implementing this," she said. "There is some very sophisticated technology on the market, which is great for organisations that need configurability and flexibility, but a large proportion of the market doesn't want that complexity."

However, rival enterprise search vendors insisted they were unfazed by the competition. John Lervik, chief executive of Fast, said Google is trying to position itself as "owner of the desktop", ahead of Microsoft's Vista release. "This is a very small part of the enterprise search space [aimed at] the lower end of the market," he argued. "There are very few one-size-fits-all solutions. "

Google also launched a new edition of its Mini appliance, which it said is easier to set up, delivers faster results and supports more traffic.