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Previous Posts

Google for the enterprise

Monday, November 01, 2004  

Google is poised to transform enterprise search just as it has transformed internet search. The Google Search Appliance is the tip of the iceberg.

They have an enterprise division. They have Desktop Search. They have the Search Appliance. They have the R&D from They have billions of dollars in cash.

They also have the right core concepts. Everything they do is simple and usable. Compare Verity, the major enterprise search player. Their solution will cost half a million dollars to implement and require half a dozen IT staff to maintain. To generate relevant results, huge effort must go into prepping the content for search. Google, on the other hand, believes that this effort indicates flawed software. "Our approach is that the software ought to be able to deal with the content as it exists," says Dave Girouard, Google's enterprise general manager.

My idea of the perfect portal is an almost blank screen with a search input box. You type your query, and it returns exactly what you're looking for--a list of relevant, useful links, just as reliably as you'd expect from To me, that's intranet Nirvana.

And it's not that far off. When Google expands the reach of their appliance to include content that's not web-enabled, such as content on network drives, and when they integrate it with search on the desktop, we may be there. I believe that any investment in Google for the enterprise is a wise move.

About the Author

I'm Chris McGrath, an intranet consultant in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I've been working on intranets since 1997, and on plain ol' web sites for even longer. I run One Intranets, the firm that co-created ThoughtFarmer -- an enterprise collaboration platform for Windows-based intranets.