Google Revs Its Mini

By Dan Muse | Posted January 30, 2007

Promising enterprise-class features in a small-business package, Google today announced Mini 2.2, the latest model in its search appliance line.

The new version is designed to add more features and improved security for both intranet and public-facing Web sites, said Kevin Gough, enterprise product manager at Google.

For a small business's internal data, Mini 2.2 "improves intranet search and information retrieval," Gough said, making it easier for workers to find data regardless of where it is on the company's network. "For example, it's a help for telecommuters who can't just swivel in their chairs to ask a co-worker where a document is," he said.

You can also now group data for different types of users so that you can limit access to certain info to specific groups. "You can have collections of documents for legal or HR departments and change the interface for each," Gough said.

The Google Mini now offers the features found previously only in Google's OneBox for Enterprise. That means you can search CRM, ERP and business intelligence applications based on a Google Mini search query.

According to Google, OneBox for Enterprise provides secure access to everything from phone book listings to graphs of inventory levels and sales trends. OneBox partners include Cisco, Employease, Netsuite, Oracle, Salesforce.com and others.

Google is also focusing on better search security through integration with LDAP and Active Directory network services and support for Windows NT LAN Manager and HTTP Basic authentication. "The Mini does authorization at the time of search to ensure [the user] has privileges to complete the search," Gough said.


Google Mini Front

Google Mini Front
The Google Mini 2.2 may look the same as the last version, but on the inside it's more powerful and more secure.
The Google Mini 2.2 also has added features designed to improve search efficiency for a small business's public Web site or e-commerce operation. For example, Google Mini searches can now be integrated with Google Analytics so you can track traffic and navigation patterns.

Because your search results typically improve when Google has a site map to crawl, the Mini allows you to export your site map to Google so you can be sure the search engine is "crawling the appropriate pages," Gough said. The Mini also now supports range-based searches, which is a welcome addition for businesses that sell products over the Web. "For example, a shopper can search for digital cameras between $300 and $500," Gough said.

As has been the tradition with the Google Mini product line, the price of the appliance isn't changing even though the features are expanding. Gough said that Google is able to keep the price the same (and it has also lowered the priced over its lifespan) because the Enterprise division benefits from the company's research and products in other areas. "We're able to leverage the work of the greater Google for small businesses," Gough said.

The base price is $1,995 and gets you the capability to search up 50,000 documents, it and includes hardware, software and a year of support. For $2,995 you can search up to 100,000. You can search up 200,000 or 300,000 documents for $5,995 and $8,995, respectively.

Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com's Small Business Channel, EarthWeb's Networking Channel and ServerWatch.

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