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Google Search Appliance Gets a Little More Mini

In January, Google upped the ante on its Mini search appliance, extending the number of documents it could index and search from 100,000 to 300,000.

Today, the search king announced that in order to better meet the needs of smaller small businesses, it is releasing a version that searches 50,000 documents for just under $2,000.

"Last time, we added the capacity needed to index a company's intranet," Rajen Sheth, product manager, Google Enterprise, said. "But there's a large untapped market on the low end. They have a need for search."

The Google Mini was originally announced in January, 2005 and offered this same capability to index and search up to 50,000 documents. However, the price was $4,995.

In terms of what kinds of businesses can best benefit from the lower-capacity, lower-priced Mini, Sheth used the example of a small law firm that's currently using the search appliance. "They had information all over the place, and the Mini was a way to tie it all together." He added the firm's attorneys also search for documents using their mobile devices.

Small e-commerce operations or businesses that rely on their Web sites to store information are good candidates for the Mini. "It's a popular a way to organize data for customer access on a Web site."


Google Mini
When the Google Mini was originally announced, searching 50,000 documents would cost you $4,995. With today's announcement, $1,995 gets you access to those 50,000 documents.

Sheth described the Mini as "essentially a Web server." The 1U rack-mountable box plugs into a network Ethernet port. You then configure it to index your company intranet or Web site. Once it's up and running, the Mini is designed to let you search across all of your company's documents and Web sites using the Google interface and features.

Maxing Out Mini
Sheth said the scalable nature of the Mini is designed to let companies expand the device capabilities as the number of documents expand. "There's so much info out there, companies needs expand fast." Or once they begin to index their documents they discover that "they had more than they realized they had."

Companies that buy the Mini have the choice of using either Google's recognizable look and feel or customizing the results. You can make small changes using the wizard interface, according to Google, or you can completely change the look of search results using XML tools.

Google says the Mini can index more than 220 file formats. The Mini indexes the first 2.5MB of any HTML document and the first 30MB of binary files (e.g, Microsoft Word or PDF files). You can, according to Google, set the Mini to crawl and index content at set intervals. The Mini’s Web-based interface is designed to let you access administration features remotely.

The Google Mini is also designed to help you improve your Web site efficiency by generating reports on page errors and broken links. It also provides reports on search term frequency.

Current Mini customers can upgrade to higher capacity, but the company doesn't offer any upgrade discount. In addition to the configuration announced today, the Mini comes in the following pricing options: $2,995.00 (100,000 documents), $5,995.00 (200,000 documents) and $8,995.00 (300,000 documents).

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Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com's Small Business Channel and EarthWeb's Networking & Communications Channel.

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