Google's new technology provides a novel way for businesses to search their intranets. However, in Gartner's view, the offering won't nudge aside more sophisticated installations that meet a greater number of business requirements.
Since its launch in 1999, Google has emerged
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Google aims search device at companies
Until now, Google offered only an application service provider model. Businesses seeking a search engine application for externally facing Web sites were the only appropriate candidates. However, Google has announced the availability of a search "appliance," a unique model for business search vendors.
Google's pricing for this model will start at $20,000 for 150,000 or fewer documents, which will make it extremely competitive with most low-priced alternatives. The search appliance's price will position Google firmly against Inktomi for inexpensive installations where HTML and other common document formats are the dominant aspect of the desired search area. For more voluminous situations, a model priced at $250,000 or more promises to hold millions of documents.
However, Google's offering will probably not meet some business needs. Google has limited ability to index dynamic repositories of content, and its approach to secure repositories remains immature.
Another issue is that of relevance. While Google provides standard keyword analysis and other ranking methods, its PageRank--which analyzes a page's prominence against others in a categorical search to determine which is most often referred and linked to--is less valuable in the structured design of business sites or intranets.
Google's residence in an offsite or sealed appliance mode makes it inhospitable for use as an underlying technology for business intelligence or customer relationship management applications, two areas of increasing focus for search technologies.
In Gartner's opinion, businesses requiring indexing and retrieval of documents in common document formats, such as HTML, Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Word, will find the Google appliance attractively priced and appealing. However, businesses with more sophisticated requirements will likely require more complex installations.
(For related commentary on search technology, see Gartner.com.)
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