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Google launches fee-based hosted site search for businesses

Custom Search Business Edition offers ad free, fee-based site search to organizations.

Google is set to launch on Tuesday a fee-based hosted site search service targeting small and medium-size organizations that will undoubtedly stir up more talk about Google aiming for Microsoft's enterprise business.

The new Google Custom Search Business Edition offers a way for companies to add a search capability to their Web sites that is powered by Google. A free version of Google's site search service displays ads. Businesses with more complex Web sites can buy the Google Search Appliance to offer site search and intranet search for behind the firewall.

The new offering includes the option to display ads, and e-mail and telephone support, as well as the ability to customize the search results. Pricing is $100 a year for indexing up to 5,000 pages and $500 for 50,000 pages. Prices start at $15,000 for 1 million pages and more.

"We have transformed the market with our Google Appliance," says Matthew Glotzbach, director of product management for Google Enterprise. "This is a leap forward in the site search market."

Glotzbach declined to comment on what the company's plans might be with its different hosted services, including Google Apps, Google Maps, Google Analytics and Google Check Out. Google has slowly been rolling out hosted applications like Gmail, Calendar, and Docs & Spreadsheets that observers say could threaten Microsoft's core business applications. Not to mention the fact that Microsoft offers its own version of enterprise search specifically.

"Ultimately, it will be a threat to Microsoft," says Jim Murphy, research director of knowledge management at AMR Research. "Software as a service is Google Apps. There will be more to come and more to tie these things together."