Google soups up Mini search

Upgrade to enterprise search appliance means companies can use it to search for public and private data on their networks.

Google has launched an upgrade to its Mini search appliance that adds security features, meaning that companies can use it to search for both public and private data on their networks.

Previous Mini appliances have lacked security features, Roberto Solimene, Google's European enterprise director, said Tuesday. That means that they could be used to either index public-facing Web sites or index internal intranets and documents, but not both.

"For the Google Mini 2.2, we are removing that limitation," Solimene explained.

"Small companies can have the full power of a GSA (the full-size Google Search Appliance) in a Mini," he said. "You can now have a secure index, including LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) and Active Directory data, so that even small companies can index information that other users are not supposed to find."

Google Mini is used by organizations to add search features to Web sites. Google Mini 2.2 uses technology from Google's public search engine, such as OneBox, which on the Web allows users to specify the type of data they are looking for; for instance, by typing "flight" before an airline's flight number. "So if I type in 'Invoice number 1234', that is a regular expression that the Mini 2.2 will recognize, and will go and speak to Oracle or SAP to retrieve the data," Solimene said.

Instead of indexing data held in enterprise applications, the Google Mini 2.2 talks to them through plug-ins and lets the enterprise application do the search. This means that the number of documents that can be indexed by a Google Mini 2.2 is still limited, at 50,000 to 300,000, depending on the model. Basic set-up is plug-and-play as before, said Solimene, but configuring the enterprise application plug-ins is more involved.

Other features added to the Google Mini with version 2.2 are Google Analytics and SiteMaps.

Google Analytics provides statistics about the behavior of users on a Web site, Solimene explained, including "where they come from, where they go, what they do and their surfing behavior."

"Optimization of Google Site Maps means that, if you are using it for indexing your Web site, and you organize your information in a specific way, that will also help the Google main search engine to index your Web site," Solimene added.

The Google Mini 2.2 is available starting Tuesday with prices ranging from less than $1,995 for a limit of 50,000 documents to $8,995 for 300,000 documents.

Matt Loney of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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