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Google Slashes Price, Boosts Capacity Of Search Appliance For Small Businesses

Google today cut prices and boosted the capacity on its search appliance that lets small and medium-sized businesses add search capacities to their websites as well as to internal networks.

The price of the Google Mini appliance, which was introduced in January 2005, has been cut from $4,995 to $2,995, and will allow users to search up to 100,000 documents, as opposed to 50,000 documents previously. The price includes one year of support.

The price of Google's Search Appliance, which has been out on the market for several years, has been cut from $32,000 to $30,000, and now enables searching of up to 500,000 documents, as opposed to 150,000 documents previously.

"As a result of this announcement, we can expect that small and mid-sized businesses that were hesitant about adding search because of its cost will now actively seek it.," said Susan Feldman, research vice president of content technologies at IDC. "This may stasrt a price war among Google-like plug-and-play products in the search market."

Google faces a number of low-price competitors in this space, according to Feldman, including Search Cacher's ESA series, and Thunderstone's appliance. There are also a variety of downloadable search engines that would appeal to the same target audience of small and medium sized businesses. IDC believes that in order to meet the needs of this market, products need to be inexpensive, easy to install, and easy to use; Google has configured the Mini with a minimum of choices to be made and algorithms to be "tweaked" and thus is directly addressing the needs of this market, said Feldman.

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