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Google Search Appliance Looks Skyward

Google has added new cloud capabilities to its rack-mounted Google Search Appliance.

As of Monday, a new feature, Cloud Connect, lets users of Google Search Appliance (GSA) 6.8 search content both within an enterprise’s firewalls as well as content from Twitter, blogs and industry websites through Google Site Search.

Users can also find experts and coworkers related to a search query using the new version of GSA. Further, they can drill down into search results for more information.

This move marks the latest in the battle between Google and Microsoft for the enterprise search market.

About GSA 6.8

GSA 6.8 integrates search with Google Apps, Site Search and Twitter. Users can search across websites, intranets, portals, fileshares, content management systems and business applications.

That might prove mighty helpful to enterprises.

“Organizations, especially medium- and large-sized ones, are facing a significant challenge because they have so much structured and unstructured data,” Dan Kusnetzky, founder of the Kusnetzky Group, told TechNewsWorld. “The unstructured data is more difficult to find because it may be stored on a thousand different peoples’ machines or on a small workgroup server somewhere and not replicated back to corporate resources.”

Any tool that helps organizations find information or data from all available sources is a critically important one, Kusnetzky said.

“A couple of financial service companies faced litigation some years back because they had submitted what they thought were all the documents pertaining to their legal cases to the courts and then more documents were found later,” Kusnetzky pointed out.

Google did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

Getting to Know You With GSA 6.8

GSA 6.8 lets users find experts and contact coworkers related to a search query right from the search results page through its People Search feature. For example, if a user ran a search using the term “Field marketing,” a list of field marketing team members would pop up in addition to other relevant content.

Organizations can index personnel information such as departments, interests, expertise and location, and GSA 6.8 has an LDAP connector to get People Search up and running quickly.

However, many enterprises already have electronic directories, usually Microsoft’s Active Directory. These directories all use LDAP, the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, which is an application protocol for querying and modifying data in directory services implemented in IP networks.

LDAP runs over TCP/IP networks and lets clients access different directory services based on entries. Users can search by name, title, department or expertise.

It’s not yet clear whether the People Search feature is just a duplication of Active Directory services or something more.

GSA 6.8 lets users search Microsoft SharePoint 2010 content without any further direct connections, by the way.

Still, GSA 6.8 might be useful to enterprises whether or not they have Microsoft Active Directory, as the directory feature is just one aspect of the Google product.

“It’s helpful for people to be able to use one tool to search everywhere when they need to find information or data for analysis,” Kusnetzky said. “That would speed up an analyst’s work.”

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