Google releases enterprise desktop search tool
Helps users find information stored in their PCs
IDG News Service - Google Inc. today made available a desktop search tool tailored for the workplace, about eight months after it introduced a similar tool for consumers.
The workplace tool, called Google Desktop Search for the Enterprise, is available for free download at http://desktop.google.com/enterprise.
Google decided to develop the product because it received many requests for a workplace version of the consumer desktop search tool, said Matthew Glotzbach, product manager for the Google Enterprise group.
Like its cousin, Google Desktop Search for the Enterprise is designed to let users find information stored in their PCs, such as e-mail messages, word-processsing documents, spreadsheet files and photos.
"Information is growing at insane rates, especially in the business environment," Glotzbach said. "The average person in the workplace can't find what they're looking for anymore [in their PCs]. There is so much information that they're overwhelmed."
The two products share a feature that has been controversial in the consumer tool: They take snapshots on the fly of every Web page a user views and then index the content. Some users have expressed concern this might be counterproductive if sensitive or confidential information such as credit card numbers, passwords and online banking information is captured as a user surfs the Web. Users can configure both tools not to capture secure HTTPS Web pages.
Unlike the consumer product, Google Desktop Search for the Enterprise has a series of installation, distribution, management and security features for IT departments to use when rolling out and configuring the product for their users. For example, all user data and index files can be encrypted, and an installer package is included for enterprisewide distribution.
Also, the tool can create different indexes in a machine that's used by different people, and it can ensure each index is accessible only to the user for which it was created.
Another feature found only in the enterprise version is the ability to index e-mail messages from IBM's Lotus Notes software, support which was made possible through a collaboration between Google and IBM. The plan is to extend this support in future upgrades to other Lotus Notes data such as calendar entries and applications built on top of this IBM system, Glotzbach said.
Google Desktop Search for the Enterprise is also integrated with the company's enterprise search tools, called Google Search Appliance and Google Mini, which companies can use to index information residing on their servers. For example, when a user runs a query against the Google Search Appliance or Google Mini, the enterprise desktop search tool automatically launches that query on the user's PC, Glotzbach said.
With thismove into the enterprise desktop search space, Google will compete against established players such as X1 Technologies Inc. and Autonomy Corp. It will also compete against Microsoft Corp., which this week announced its intention to develop an enterprise desktop search tool, which should be available in beta form by the end of the year.
The Google news didn't come as a surprise: A Google official acknowledged to IDG News Service in January that the company was developing a desktop search tool for the enterprise market.
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