Google seeks clients of enterprise search rivals
Offers trade-in to draw new customers to its Search Appliance
IDG News Service - Google Inc. is going after clients of other enterprise search vendors with a new trade-in program aimed at fostering adoption of its Search Appliance, the company said.
Organizations that rip out their enterprise search systems and replace them with a Search Appliance by the end of the year will receive a free Google Mini, a simpler and less expensive version of the Search Appliance, Google said yesterday.
The Google Search Appliance, first introduced in 2002, is designed to index information stored in a variety of server-based data repositories, such as intranets, public Web sites, relational databases, enterprise business applications, content management software and legacy systems.
The Google Mini is designed for small and midsize organizations that want to make the information in their intranets or public Web sites searchable.
Both products are hardware boxes loaded with Google search software.
Mountain View, Calif.-based Google hopes the replacement program will appeal in particular to customers of its enterprise search rival Verity Inc., which last week announced that it will be sold to Autonomy Corp. in a cash deal totaling around $500 million.
"We definitely see a situation where a significant number of customers are probably questioning whether the Verity products will be developed and supported going forward," said Dave Girouard, general manager of the Google Enterprise unit.
Beyond Verity customers, the trade-in program is also intended to attract organizations using legacy enterprise search systems whose vendors haven't updated them regularly, Girouard noted. He said he trusts that many customers will conclude that the Search Appliance is a better product with a brighter future.
"We're increasing our investment in this market. It's been a market that has been flat for years, and we're injecting interest and excitement into it and doing innovations that are not happening elsewhere. We want to make sure people check out what we're doing in this market," he said.
To qualify for the free Google Mini offer, an organization must either not be a Search Appliance user, or if it's a Search Appliance user, it must replace a competing enterprise search system with the new one it buys, because the point of the program is to get customers to do a product swap, Girouard said. However, Google won't require proof that the customer uninstalled a competing product, he said. "It's an honor system in that respect," he said.
The prospect of receiving a free Google Mini won't be a big motivator for every company, but a price break on the Search Appliance would have much broader appeal, said Guy Creese an analyst at Ballardvale Research Inc. "I think companies
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