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The Web Data Dilemma

3:20 PM -- When I started my first job in 1994, people were still scratching their heads and working out exactly what the Internet meant for businesses. Back then, in the days of the "Information Superhighway" -- and the still-ubiquitous fax machine -- we knew we were on the verge of something big.

Now, more than a decade later, many businesses are faced with something big indeed -- their corporate Websites. And they have scarier problems than restricting employee access to X-rated sites or worrying about hackers or that weird guy from accounting who never emerges from his cubicle.

The sheer volume of data on the corporate Intranet is apt to be top of mind for CIOs. Quite simply, many businesses don't know what they've got, yet they're under pressure to classify this data and index it for compliance, regulatory, and business purposes.

Enter Google. The Mountain View, Calif.-based search giant has already made a song and dance about Web classification, unveiling a high-end search appliance called the OneBox aimed at enterprises and a low-end Mini device for smaller firms. (See Google Unveils New Mini.)

Google touts its search devices as a way for users to target data on specific business intelligence applications. The OneBox, for instance, trawls the Web with workforce automation, customer resource management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and business intelligence packages. (See Google One-Ups Intranet Search, Google Intros OneBox, Google Bangs Application Drum, and SAS, Google Join for Search.)

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