Google has unveiled a partner program to sign up ISVs, resellers, consultants and systems integrators to provide complementary wares and services for its enterprise products.
The goal of the program, called Google Enterprise Professional, is to extend the reach of enterprise products such as the Google Search Appliance, the Google Mini and Google Desktop Search for Enterprise, all of which are designed to index and retrieve information in organisations such as companies, educational institutions and government agencies.
Google offers a basic level of service and customer support for its enterprise products. For example, it offers online training for the Google Mini and the simple version of the Search Appliance, and on-site installation for the bigger versions of the Search Appliance.
But it doesn't offer any consulting, integration services or customisation work, general manager of Google's enterprise business unit, Dave Girouard, said. That's where the partners will come in and provide those types of services Google isn't skilled at, he said.
About a dozen partners have already been signed up, and Google expects that number to exceed 100 over the coming year, Girouard said.
"We have to be pretty careful about who we work with in this program because in the end people are going to look at Google in terms of whether the experience with our products is good or bad," he said.
The partners that have already been signed up are all based in the US, but the program will be launched shortly in Europe as well, he said.
Partners pay $US10,000 per year to be in the program, and that includes a developer version of the Google Search Appliance, support and training. Google will act as a link between enterprise clients interested in professional services and its partners, matching clients with partners with the appropriate skills for the services sought.
The Google Search Appliance is designed to index information stored in a variety of server-based data repositories, including intranets, public Web sites, relational databases, enterprise business applications, content management software and legacy systems.
Meanwhile, the Google Mini, a simpler and less expensive version of the Search Appliance, is designed for use by SMBs that want to make searchable the information in their intranets or public Web sites. Both products are hardware boxes with Google software in them.