RealTime IT News

Google Moves Search to Enterprise Desktop

Google announced Google Desktop Search for Enterprise, a free product that includes administrative tools to ease corporations' security worries.

"We've listened to the concerns of companies around security and administrative control, and tried to head-on address all that feedback," said product manager Matt Glotzbach. "We feel we've addressed all the concerns that are required for an enterprise-class product."

Following the November 2004 release of Google Desktop Search, analysts warned that corporate documents that had been accessed via a Web interface and then cached by the desktop search tool could be accessed by anyone with physical access to the computer.

Google added full support for group policies so that all end-user settings can be centrally controlled, along with an MSI-based installer so that the IT administrator can push out the application to all or selected employees.

"We've given administrative full control over the information," Glotzbach said. "Enterprises like to get a new version and test it before deployment, so they can block auto update and handle updating the client using their own facilities." However, employees with administrator privileges can download the tool to their own computers.

The enterprise search tool encrypts all data housed in the index files, using the Windows Encrypted File System.

Glotzbach said that a common concern was that, with all data on a machine consolidated in the Google Desktop Search index, a malicious user could remove the files and restore them, recreating the contents of the machine. With the new system, only those in possession of the machine's user name and password can access the data.

The enterprise tool supports multiple users per machine, and creates individual indexes for each user, keeping each person's information walled off from the others'. Glotzbach said the next version of the consumer desktop search application also will support multiple users of the same computer.

Google Enterprise Desktop Search can search Lotus Notes, thanks to a partnership with IBM , as well as Outlook, Microsoft Office files and PDFs.

Employees of businesses that use Google's Enterprise Search Appliance or Mini Search Appliance will be able to search files on the intranet as well.

Glotzbach said Google hopes providing the free enterprise search tool could increase interest in its search appliances.

"You don't need the search appliance to use it," he said, "but we think those who adopt the desktop search will look at the search appliance as well."