Oracle's In My Google

With Google's new search appliance, application data's at your fingertips.

April 19, 2006

3 Min Read
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Google???s digging deeper into the enterprise, today announcing a new Google Search Appliance. The key new feature on the latest version of the product is what the search giant calls Google OneBox???it???s the same top-of-the-search results you find as a consumer using the Google search engine, only now applied to enterprise applications data. ???We???re in some sense trying to create an effect that has already happened on the web,??? says Dave Girouard, Google Vice President & General Manager, Enterprise. ???In the corporate world, to date, search engines are primarily focused on document systems and web pages but we recognize a lot of the important information resides in the business applications that run the company. We want to broaden people???s perspective on what search can mean, and make it the interface to all the information inside the company.???

For instance, typing in a PO number using an Oracle Financials Onebox module might pull up a synopsis of a purchase order, right from the search appliance, without requiring the user to, as Girouard puts it, ???leave the comfort of the search experience,??? and log onto separate systems.

That???s pretty heady stuff. But I suspect the real story here is about the partnerships behind the feature???indeed, its Google???s recent embrace of a partnership model that will be critical to helping it further penetrate the enterprise. Oracle, Cognos, SAS,, Employees (an on-demand HR management system vendor) and Netsuite. 7 will have Onebox modules (in some cases, multiple modules) available at launch, and also joining the activity are two small consultancies building Onebox modules for Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange, and Bearingpoint, which has built some plug-ins for SAP and Peoplesoft.

Google has not historically been a partner-focused business, admits Girouard, or good at working with partners. That???s changing. ???It???s a pretty big play for us,??? Says Girouard. ???We recognize to get deeper into the enterprise and have more success we can???t go it alone.??? Google now has 60+partners???from software companies to systems integrators???signed on to its Google Enterprise Professional Program for providinge value-added services and solutions for its enterprise search products, and BearingPoint two months ago announced a search practice based on Google.

The Enterprise business still represents a very small fraction of Google???s business, but it more than doubled in 2005 vs 2004 and it has been very profitable, says Girouard, though he won???t disclose numbers. ???We want to grow our business and have it be impactful for customers. And impactful for Google.???The latest version of the search appliance starts at $30,000, the same price as previous versions, and existing customers can upgrade free to the Onebox modules. Also surrounding the launch is a developer community, with 30 different Onebox modules in a gallery. Developers can submit their own modules, which are based on simple HTTP-based APIs, to the gallery. Google also announced today a new Google Mini search appliance for small and medium sized business??? websites and intranets. Starting at about $1,000, the company says it???s about 25 times faster than the existing model, and lets businesses host several different search engine collections. It also can natively craw file systems and has improved reporting functionality.

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