Google's Mini Slims Down, Speeds Up

By Dan Muse | Posted April 19, 2006

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When it comes to its Mini search appliance, no one can accuse Google of standing still. Since announcing the network appliance back in January 2005, the Mountain View, Calif.-based sultan of search has lowered prices while expanding the number of documents that small businesses and e-commerce shops can search.

Today, though, Google announced the biggest Mini changes to date. Actually, you could say the smallest changes since part of the news is that the appliance is now roughly half the size and half the weight of its predecessor, according to Rajen Sheth, product manager, Google Enterprise. Small businesses are often cramped for space, and it's important that the Mini be small enough to slip under a desk or fit into a rack, Sheth said.


Google Mini Front
Sure, it looks the same as previous Minis in this photo but, according to Google, it's really half the size and weight of the search appliance's earlier versions.

Not only is the footprint smaller, the foot speed is quicker as the new search box is designed to crawl Web sites faster and return queries results quicker. The Mini now supports up to 25 queries per second, which is 25 times faster than the previous version, Sheth said.

The performance increases are important, Sheth said, because workers in the office expect the same performance, features and experience they have when they use Google at home. "Consumers, customers, employees are all the same. It's a new user paradigm. IT needs are the same as consumer needs."

Mini also now searches multiple sites and can help businesses create an instant intranet by searching the contents of shared Windows file systems. The new Mini can also crawl your documents in one of two ways, Sheth said. You can choose to implement real-time options, and the Mini will detect how often content changes and crawl the most-changed areas more often — an approach designed to keep content fresh while reducing the network traffic. You can also set the Mini to crawl your entire Web site or intranet at predetermined times, Sheth said.


Google Mini Front
Google claims that a small business can set up the plug-and-play Mini in about an hour.

Google said the new Mini also boasts an improved administrator dashboard and Simple Network Management Protocol monitoring for remote management. Also, new diagnostics reporting is designed to help small businesses and e-commerce operations better understand what people are looking for and to discover site errors such as dead links.

Pricing remains the same for the Mini. The base price is $1,995 and gets you the capability to search up 50,000 documents 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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