Google pushes search in a box

Packing its Internet search secret sauce into a box, Google is this week expected to release a search engine appliance designed for use behind the corporate firewall.

The Google Search Appliance combines hardware and software in a device designed to crawl, or search, Internet-based enterprise content behind or outside the firewall.

The Google in a box approach extends the search technology vendor's reach into enterprises beyond its Internet site,, and its powered-by-Google corporate site search offering.

Based on a Linux platform, the Google Search Appliance can crawl any type of Web-enabled content while reducing latency in search returns, according to Joan Braddi, vice president of search services at Google.

"This product was in high demand from site search customers to be used behind their firewall," she said. "Enterprises have a lot of content and it is in all areas of the corporation. We are making corporate search very easy and accurate."

The Google Search Appliance comes in two models: the GB (Google Box) 1001 and the GB 8008. The entry-level GB 1001 starts at $US20,000 including two years support and updates. The high-end GB 8008, starting at $250,000, includes load balancing, separate administrative controls, support for more documents, and support and updates for two years.

Whereas other search systems for the enterprise may take weeks to install with the help of professional services, Google's appliance is designed to be up and running in an hour, Braddi claimed.

Future versions of the appliance will feature increased scalability, support for more document types, improved security, and extensions to other types of structured content, according to Braddi.

Google's search software is based on a technique the company developed called PageRank. Aimed at improving the relevance of results, the PageRank system looks beyond the volume to determine the importance of links.

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