Dave Girouard, general manager of Google's enterprise business, gave a keynote speech Wednesday at the enterprise-focused Interop trade show in New York City, where he described to corporate IT managers how Google and its search tools fit well into companies of the 21st century.
"Google and enterprise? It sounds like Teletubbies and nuclear fusion," Girouard joked. "Intuitively it doesn't make sense, right?"
But Google, best known for its public search engine, has been plugging away atfor more than a year, and the company expects to continue growing the business in the future.
"We see a huge opportunity to bring search into the enterprise," he said in an interview after the keynote. "It's still a small percentage of our revenue, but it's profitable and we see opportunity for growth."
Few people are even aware that Google sells enterprise products, but the company's profile in the corporate world is on the rise. In a survey of attendees conducted by Interop organizers, Google was predicted to be one of the top three technology companies that will have major impact on the corporate market in the coming year, according to Lenny Heymann, Interop General Manager. Microsoft and Cisco Systems were also named.
Today, Google sells a variety of search appliances, preconfigured servers loaded with Google search software that can index documents on a company's internal or external Web sites so the documents can be found easily using the Google search box.
By indexing corporate documents and URLs with its search appliances, people can search for documents on their corporate Web sites just as they do when using Google.com to search the Web, Girouard said.
The devices range in price from $3,000 for the, designed for small businesses, to $30,000 for large companies that need indexing of up to 500,000 documents.
Google's objective is to make all information searchable. Girouard said workers waste an average of 25 percent of their day looking for information. Google and its corporate search tools could help employees work more efficiently, he said.
Google already has over 2,000 corporate customers, including Morgan Stanley. But Girouard acknowledged that the power of corporate search makes some companies nervous, especially when it comes to security.
The Google appliance is designed to filter searches for individual employees. Companies have to decide which information to make searchable, and to develop policies that determine which employees can access which pieces of information, he said.