Google pumps up enterprise archive search

Google nudges closer to the enterprise with new search features for data archives and a new API to connect with major data management applications.

Google Inc. is cozying up to enterprise data managers with new features in its Google Search Appliance (GSA), the opening of Google Enterprise Labs and a framework for connecting its search product to popular enterprise data repositories, like EMC Corp.'s Documentum.

The GSA is meant to give users a centralized interface for searching multiple content repositories for business analytics, compliance and e-discovery -- a market Google has expanded in this year with the announcement of Gmail for Enterprise and the acquisition of enterprise email archiver Postini Inc.

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As part of an announcement made yesterday, Google now says the appliance can search content inside and outside of corporate firewalls, including data stored online as part of a Software as a Service (SaaS) engagement.

Google also announced that it has created an application program interface (API) for connecting the search appliance with popular enterprise content repositories. The first applications officially connected to the search appliance through this new open source framework are EMC's Documentum, IBM's FileNet, Open Text Corp.'s Livelink and Microsoft's SharePoint.

"We've actually had connectivity to Google's Search Appliance for several releases now," said Whitney Tidmarsh, vice president of content management and archive for EMC.

Tidmarsh also pointed out that the connector between Google and Documentum works both ways. "Documentum users also have access through the Documentum interface to everything Google indexes if they so choose," he said.

A Google spokesperson said third-party vendors had done basic integration with Documentum and GSA, but Google will now support more advanced native integration with Documentum.

Google is also opening its API to other content management applications, including the multitude of enterprise e-discovery and archiving products hitting the market. "There are a lot more data repositories out there we need to integrate with," said Nitin Mangtani, Google's lead product manager for enterprise search. "That's why we're looking to enable partners and customers to build the appropriate connectors to other applications."

For users who can't get enough of tinkering with Google source code, Google has also opened a Web site called Google Enterprise Labs, which will give sneak previews of new goodies being developed for GSA. Examples of free downloadable Google Enterprise Lab features include "search as you type," "do it yourself" key matching and custom parametric navigation for content repositories. These features will make the next release of the appliance more customizable for enterprise users, according to Mangtani.

The ability to customize the appliance will help Google break into the enterprise, predicted Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Brian Babineau. "As Google is building out its enterprise business, there's a learning curve for them about how information is stored and used," he said. "Along the way, if they allow organizations to build their own relevance ratings and taxonomies, they'll move toward being a full-fledged enterprise search provider."

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