Google's Gambit

Google's OneBox Enterprise may be more important than you think.

April 21, 2006

2 Min Read
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2:10 PM -- It's easy to glance at Google's latest announcement and miss the point. (See Google One-Ups Intranet Search.) After all, what's the big deal about searching the corporate database? Don't vendors like Oracle already offer their own search interfaces?

Not exactly. If you have an intranet based on Oracle, Cognos, or SAS, you already know it's a full-time job to maintain the software. And it's more work to maintain your marriage to the integrator and/or consulting firm charged with making these high-end corporate products do what you need them to do.

That goes for creating a unified interface.

Consider the problem: Say an employee wants to search several corporate databases with a single query -- client name, accounting, human resources, corporate travel, to name just a few. You may be looking at millions of dollars in fees to get that query to yield a list of coherent answers on a desktop or laptop.

That can be a hard sell to higher-ups.Granted, Google's OneBox Enterprise, which purports to answer queries on the multi-database intranets with all the speed and efficiency of the Internet, isn't cheap. A large system could even match the cost of a nice chunk of contract programming. But the setup's dramatically simpler. There's no customization, no complicated partnership issues. And the platform is delivered in a LAN-ready set of rackmountable boxes.

Google's allies in this project know they're onto something. After all, if the integrators charged with selling Cognos, Oracle,, and SAS solutions can short-circuit the labor and cost of doing business with corporate IT, they can sell more, faster.

What's not to love? Security and flexibility are issues. There's no SAN connectivity. But those are matters of time. If Google can get its latest search engine into enough shops, it could change the nature of how data is managed in corporate networks.

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • Cognos Inc. (Nasdaq: COGN; Toronto: CSN)

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)

  • Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL)

  • Inc.

  • SAS Institute Inc.0

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