Google Updates Search Appliance

    January 4, 2007

Last month, Yahoo and IBM announced a Yahoo optimized version of OmniFind, an enterprise search utility. Less than three weeks later, Google is now offering up new features found within its own business search utility.

No shortage of news out of the Googleplex today, as the worldwide leader in search announces updates to the Google Search Appliance. It seems that the company is taking my advice, starting off 2007 with a clear focus on improving its already dominant position with the realm of search.

How does the Google Search Appliance work? Straight from the horse’s mouth:

The Google Search Appliance makes the sea of lost and misplaced data on your web servers, file servers, content management systems, relational databases and business applications instantly available from a single familiar search box.

Through an interface as simple and intuitive as, your employees will have instant, real-time secure access to all the information and knowledge across your entire enterprise – in more than 220 different file formats, and in over 109 different languages.

These are the new features that Google announced today:

Results Hit Clustering are groups of dynamically formed sub-categories based on the results of each search query. These clusters appear at the top of search results and help searchers refine their queries from possible ambiguous terms.

For example, if an employee searches for “customer” on the company network, a set of categories could appear at the top of the results with groups of topics such as “customer support” or “customer contacts” to help guide the search. Administrators can customize the location and appearance of Results Hit Clustering within search results.

Source Biasing enables administrators to assign various weights to search results on their corporate network, based on source or type of content. For instance, if a company has multiple Documentum servers, the site administrator can strengthen the content from the one primary Documentum server.

The same is true for types of content. If a financial services corporation values content in .pdf form more than content in a word processing document, administrators can use Source Biasing to increase the weight of .pdfs in the search results. A menu-driven interface allows weak or strong increases or decreases, and requires no complex coding or scripting.

The new version of the Google Search Appliance also adds improved functionality with Google Sitemaps and methods of indexing content in SharePoint 2003 and SharePoint 2007.

Google will probably downplay the competitive significance of the move, but you have to believe that the company is trying to keep IBM and Yahoo off its back. The Yahoo edition of OmniFind was announced back in December, and three weeks later Google happens to release major updates for its own enterprise product?

Hardly a coincidence, it seems.

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Joe is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.