by C.G. Lynch

Google Adds More Features to Enterprise Search Appliance

Aug 06, 20083 mins
IT Leadership

Analysts say the new features for Google's search appliance, which include improved security and access controls, will make the enterprise search tool more palatable for businesses.

Google will unveil the newest version of its Google Search Appliance today, boasting new functions to the tool that queries multiple enterprise data sources and feeds them into a single portal for end users.


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“More and more, users are expecting a single place for search,” Matthew Glotzbach, product management director for Google Enterprise, told CIO. “That expectation is set by their user experience on a place like They expect video, text, pictures, weather and everything else to be right there. Then, when they go into work, the same isn’t true. They have all these systems and no unified way to search it.”

Like many enterprise search vendors such as Microsoft and Autonomy, Google aims to fix that problem. Companies can index 10 million documents on the appliance, up from 3 million in the last version.

It reads more than 200 different file types and can search a variety of different databases, including enterprise content systems such as EMC Documentum, IBM FileNet, OpenText Livelink, and Microsoft SharePoint.

In addition to the storage improvements, the new version allows greater personalization for administrators to control what databases users or user groups can access. Google also added Kerberos support, a protocol that ensures users are authenticated over the enterprise network. This is especially important in making sure end users, or people outside the firewall, don’t access documents they’re not supposed to see within the enterprise search tool, says Brian Babineau, an analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group.

“You can’t have people accessing every piece of data they have,” Babineau says. “There has to be access controls to ensure security.”

Administrators can also “set biases” based on metadata. In other words, for a particular search query, they can set the appliance to return results with a particular tag higher than others. Another feature, which allows administrators to see where in the search results users clicked most often, was conceived in Google’s Enterprise Labs, a forum where Google Enterprise customers interact and make suggestions with the engineering group at Google.

“We get feedback on experiments that people are excited about or frankly ones they aren’t,” Glotzbach says. “Getting that feedback is very valuable.”

For now, Babineau of the Enterprise Strategy Group says that Google’s name in the consumer space could help bring more attention to enterprise search, which has drawn interest from IT departments but hasn’t led to large scale adoption.

In a survey by the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), 69 percent of the 500 companies sampled have less than half of their data discoverable by enterprise search tools.