February 11, 2002 12:40 PM PST

Google aims search device at companies

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Google said Monday that it is launching a new device that will allow corporations to use its search technology to scan their own networks.

Google Search Appliance The Google Search Appliance is a hardware/software combination. Google would not disclose the name of its manufacturing partner for the hardware devices, which it described only as "Intel-based hardware" running Linux.

The GB-1001, which can be mounted in a server rack, will store an index of 150,000 documents, or up to 10 gigabytes, and is priced at $20,000. The GB-8008, a freestanding device that holds 8GB 1001s, can handle "millions of documents," the company said, and starts at $250,000.

Privately held Google is well known to consumers and has begun to build its corporate business by licensing out its technology for companies' Web sites. The company signed a deal with EarthLink last month, bumping out competitor Overture Services.

"It was just a natural extension for us to take our existing search product and put it behind the firewall," said Joan Braddi, vice president of search services at Google. "We had been asked by many of (our) partners for something like that."

Google faces some of the same competition on corporate networks as it does with online search, including companies such as Ask Jeeves, Inktomi and AltaVista. It's also going up against companies including Verity that deal with intra-corporate search.


Gartner analyst Whit Andrews says Google's new technology offers a novel way for corporations to search their own intranets--but that may not satisfy companies with more sophisticated requirements.

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Google will support both the software and the hardware of the new devices, Braddi said.

That combo approach is new for the search market and could help Google attract attention, said David Schatsky, research director at Jupiter Media Metrix.

"It's appealing, this notion that it can be just dropped into a server rack somewhere and provide ready access to internal documents," he said. Schatsky added that the price point should also help bring in business, especially for companies that don't yet have a comprehensive document management program in place.

Schatsky did note that "there are a lot of issues (Google) will need to address in subsequent revisions, such as centralized security management for access to secured documents."

 

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