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Google One-Ups Intranet Search

Google today unveiled the latest version of its Search Appliance, and it's integrated the rackable hardware units with specific business intelligence applications -- such as sales force automation, customer resource management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and business intelligence packages. (See Google Intros OneBox.)

The result is something called Google OneBox Enterprise, comprising a basic Search Appliance and software modules that support a range of applications. So far, Google has enlisted Cisco, Cognos, Employease, Oracle,, Netsuite, and SAS to integrate their business applications with the Search Appliance -- and execs promise more. It costs nothing, they say, for developers to get the API and support tools to create their own modules on the Web.

The idea behind OneBox is to offer a simple way for IT pros to offer Intranet searches to their in-house constituents. Starting at the end of this month, Google says, customers will be able to buy a Search Appliance, load OneBox modules from the Web onto it at no extra cost, and provide searches across multiple business intelligence applications for Intranet users -- via the same interface Google uses throughout its products.

At least one expert insists the significance of the announcement can't be downplayed. "Google has just put down a high trump card and is getting ready to take the pile in the enterprise integration space, where search is the interface," says Stephen E. Arnold, an independent technology and financial analyst and expert in enterprise search.

Up to now, Arnold notes, it's been possible to set up Intranet data searches involving corporate applications such as those from Cognos, Oracle, or SAS, but it's taken extensive hands-on integration. Now, he says, third-party resellers and integrators can offer IT pros a box that eliminates the high, recurring costs of custom programming.

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