Google expands search appliance capacity

The search company is upgrading its Google Search Appliance with more capacity and some improvements for administrators and users of the in-house search system.

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Google has expanded the capacity of its Search Appliance and made other improvements to the customized server that lets people search their companies' documents.

The Google Search Appliance is based on Dell server hardware and Google software.
The Google Search Appliance is based on Dell server hardware and Google software. Google

The earlier incarnation of the device could index as many as 3 million documents, but the newer model can handle 10 million, said Matthew Glotzbach, director of product management for enterprise at Google. Other changes include the ability to present search results based on descriptive metadata associated with documents and the ability for administrators to customize search results for different categories of employees, he said.

Google makes the vast majority of its revenue and profit by selling text ads that appear on its publicly available Web search site, but the search server is one of a handful of other areas where the company is actively trying to make money.

The price, which covers support and hardware problems for two years, starts at $30,000 for the entry-level model that can index 500,000 documents. Google doesn't disclose prices for higher-level models, which include features such as disaster recovery, under which one geographically distant machine can take over for another that fails.

The search appliances present results based on a variety of criteria, including records of how often employees click on various search results. They can use connectors to access files archived with document management systems such as EMC's Documentum. And they can extract structured data stored in databases and software for enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management.

Among customers using the appliance are Adobe Systems, Kimberly-Clark, and Sunnybrook Health, Glotzbach said.

Hardware for the 3.5-inch thick rack-mountable server is manufactured by Dell, he said. On top is Google's software, including a customized version of the Linux operating system.