Google unveils new search appliance

Search update captures business intelligence

Google shored up its enterprise-search portfolio on Wednesday, announcing Google OneBox for Enterprise, a new feature for doing real-time searches on business-application data.

Leading application vendors such as Cisco Systems, Cognos, Oracle, Salesforce.com, and SAS joined Google and announced extensions for OneBox. The consumer search darling still has a long way to go, however, before it can compete head-to-head with pure-play enterprise search vendors, experts say.

OneBox for Enterprise is a free update for the Google Search Appliance. The OneBox concept is well-established in Google’s consumer search services. It refers to the search engine’s capability to extract specific kinds of dynamic information, like weather or stock prices, from the search results, along with static search results.

Coupled with Google Search Appliance, OneBox highlights information such as contacts, calendar entries, sales leads, or purchase orders, said David Girouard, vice president and general manager of Google’s Enterprise business unit.

“We’re tapping into information inside the business application,” Girouard said. “It’s not just documents, but facts and trends.”

Marquis vendors were anxious to climb on stage and bask in the reflection of Google’s, party-colored glow.

Salesforce.com said it will have 10 modules for OneBox, including opportunities, contacts, accounts, campaigns, and customer-support cases modules.

Cisco customers using the Unified Communications System will be able to use the Google OneBox to find rich media conference information, including calendar events and missed call logs, said Joe Burton, director of engineering for Cisco’s Unified Communications Business Unit.

Cognos unveiled Cognos Go! for Cognos 8 that works with Google Search Appliance to find unstructured business intelligence data such as reports and graphs, said Paul Hulford, senior product marketing manager at Cognos.

Chris Framel, a systems analyst for the City of Albuquerque, New Mexico, said OneBox could provide a way for city employees in 26 departments to access Cognos reports and other data. Creating links to Cognos reports now takes as many as ten clicks. Google Search Appliance will put them one click away and expand the use of Cognos within the city, Framel said.

In time, Google’s simple search interface could become the default user interface for business applications of all kinds, said Whit Andrews, an analyst at Gartner.

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