RealTime IT News

Bigger Search For The Smaller Set

Google's smallest search appliance has beefed up and trimmed down at the same time.

The company's latest version of Google Mini, a search appliance designed for small and mid-size businesses, has doubled its capacity and reduced its price.

That original Mini was optimized for up to 50,000 documents and costs $5000. The new product can now handle 100,000 documents and costs $2,995, which includes one year of support.

"We're helping companies get solutions up and running that work," said Matthew Glotzbach, business product manager at Google. "We are offering search to a whole new type of customer, and so far we've seen all types of commercial and education institutions [using it] over the past three years."

The Google Mini is an integrated hardware/software search appliance that indexes all content within a company's intranet or public Web site. After an installation process that generally takes a few hours, users can search for items in the same manor they do on Google.com, said Glotzbach.

The original Mini was launched in January and is currently used by hundreds of law firms, healthcare organizations, educational institutions, consulting firms and state governments, said Glotzbach. It was designed for companies that couldn't afford the expense of having developers or search administrators on staff to develop similar software solutions.

Companies of all sizes are having a harder time finding information on their internal intranets and external-facing Web sites than on the Web via search engines such as Google, said Glotzbach.

"It is much easier to find some obscure piece of information on the Internet using Google than finding last quarter's sales number on the company intranet," he added.

The appliance can be integrated with Oracle's database, IBM's DB2, Microsoft's SQL, the open-source mySQL and Sybase's database.

Although designed for small and midsize businesses, the appliance can also be upgraded to its existing Google Search Appliance for larger organizations.

Google also announced it had bulked up its Search Appliance, featuring support for more types of enterprise content. The latest addition now can handle 500,000 documents, up from 150,000.

Like the Mini, the Search Appliance dropped in price, moving from $32,000 to $30,000. Glotzbach said the system operates on a native connection to enterprise databases, allowing the appliance to crawl content that lives in relational databases. This feature also lets the appliance conduct searches across structured and unstructured data, according to Glotzbach.

In all, Google boast over 1,000 customers use its search Appliance products. Other versions of the Search Appliance can index 15 million documents or more in a single collection.