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Google adds two 'Mini' business search appliances

One of the systems can find up to 300,000 documents

By Reuters
January 12, 2006 12:00 PM ET

Reuters - Consumer Internet search leader Google Inc. today said that it is introducing two new, higher-capacity systems designed to meet the growing demand for tools to search for documents inside businesses.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company said it now offers three Google "Mini" search appliances, which are designed for small and midsize companies. The two new Mini offerings include an appliance that can find up to 200,000 internal documents and that sells for $5,995, and a 300,000-document search appliance that sells for $8,995.

The two new devices work like the Google Mini search appliance introduced a year ago, which has the capacity to search 100,000 documents and sells for $2,995.

Search appliances are a combination of hardware and software that can be used by office workers to cull through a wide variety of documents inside an organization or by external customers to search through documents on a company's Web site.

Google has sold Minis to more than 2,000 organizations, but won't disclose specific figures, Dave Girouard, Google Enterprise general manager, said in a phone interview.

For big businesses and government organizations, the company also offers the Google Search Appliance, which starts at around $30,000 and runs up to $600,000 per appliance for very-high-capacity search systems, according to Girouard.

The market for products that search for information inside organizations rather than on the public Internet, the so-called enterprise search market, was around $750 million in 2004, according to market research firm IDC.

Search appliances were expected to generate upward of $900 million in sales in 2005, according to Sue Feldman, an analyst at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC.

In November, the No. 1 supplier of intranet search appliances, Cambridge, England-based Autonomy Corp., agreed to pay around $500 million to acquire Verity, the No. 2 enterprise search company.

Together these companies represent a roughly $200 million search business, compared with Google's roughly $60 million enterprise search products business. That makes Google a distant No. 2 to Autonomy-Verity, Feldman estimates.

Norway's Fast Search and Transfer are among other competitors in the fragmented market.

Search appliances account for a tiny fraction of Google's revenue. Roughly 99% of the company's revenue comes from sales of advertisements that run beside Web search results.

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