We recognize the need to leverage the vertical and technical expertise of 3rd parties in extending the reach of search deeper into corporate networks. As a result the Google Enterprise Professional partner program has grown tremendously since its inception. Its a no brainer for the partner as they get to market and sell value added services and solutions they've integrated with the Google Search Appliance. And Google gets to provide its users with great search access to a broader set of enterprise information. Win-win.

Less brouhaha, however, is made of a more subtle phenomena that we're starting to notice. For our partners, adding the power of a Google Search Appliance to a solution or product can provide fast and relevant search, but it can also uncover new challenges and customer requirements as the scope of their customer relationship expands. This can lead to new opportunities where the partner can certainly choose to increase their footprint. In many cases, however, this results in our partners talking to each other and we're seeing them leverage each other's services and form complementary relationships where they can go in together and provide a more complete interdependent solution for their collective customers. There's the portal solution provider who seeks help from a security services firm to deal with new access control requirements on previously unsearchable restricted document stores. And the professional services firm who, while deploying a custom user interface for a search appliance, joins forces with a software vendor who's created an appliance connector for the customer's legacy system. There's the systems integrator who cooperates with the business intelligence vendor to help their customer realize the benefits of a single interface for information access and decision making.

In many cases the Google Search Appliance provides the interface that brings together disparate systems and business applications that would never have otherwise worked together. Now we're bringing together partner solution providers, application vendors, and integrators who would never have otherwise worked together. We're happy to make the world a more cooperative place, and its a nice side effect that this teamwork ultimately results in an improved user experience.

It's always gratifying to see your efforts rewarded. This review of the Google Mini by Small Business Computing brings back some memories of when we designed the product.

When we built the new Mini, we wanted to make sure we were creating a product which fit the needs of small and medium businesses. In fact, to validate that we were satisfying these businesses, we hit the road to test it out. We would literally throw a Mini in my trunk, drive to a local business, and watch them set it up. We really tried to optimize the out-of-box experience to not only make it easy to set up but also make customers excited to use it. As we did these studies, we'd smile with delight when they understood the UI, and, sometimes, we'd cringe when they ran into a roadblock. We'd then come back to the office and design ways to alleviate the roadblocks.

By the time we released the product, we thought that we had a winner - easy to use and meeting the business needs of companies. But, it was nice to see Small Business Computing validate this with their recent review of the new Mini. We're glad to see this, but we're not done. Today, it's back to the office to make the Mini even better.

A single search box for all your enterprise content? That goal moved a major step closer for Documentum users last week, when Sword, one of our key partners in Europe, announced a connector between the Google Search Appliance and Documentum. With just an in-house Google Search Appliance and Sword's new connector, enterprise information seekers can now securely search for information in their Documentum system along with the rest of their enterprise information. Pretty cool stuff.

Sword, a global solutions provider and one of our earliest enterprise partners in Europe, is an expert on both Documentum and the Google Search Appliance. For details on their connector, check out

Today's AIIM Expo begins with Dave Girouard telling attendees that search is no longer the last place people go to find information inside a company. More often, it is the first place they start.

Dave's keynote on "Search to Start. Not to Find" demonstrates how consumer expectation now drives innovation in IT, and discusses ways companies can embrace this change for better information access.

The keynote is one of many events putting Google search front and center at the AIIM Expo -- described as the world's largest and most important annual event for the enterprise content and information management industry.
  • In the Google Partner Pavilion, a number of Google Enterprise Professional Program partners will demonstrate how they are extending Google search technology deeper into enterprise applications.
These partner announcements will mean an improved search experience for business users and enhanced functionality for corporations. For example Sword, a global solutions provider, is announcing the GSA Connector for Documentum, the first connector for the Google Search Appliance that enables secure, direct indexing of content within EMC Documentum's market leading ECM platform. Sword, in close partnership with Google and lead by Olivier Colinet, technical lead for the Sword connector work, has developed a world-class solution to bring Google-powered search to the large ECM repositories inside corporations, helping fulfill the vision of simple, secure, unified enterprise search.

Innovation should never be at the expense of user simplicity. And we thank all our partners for embracing and promoting that idea, and helping to make enterprise search better for all business. We look forward to seeing all the cool, and innovative things that the partner and developer community can do with search in the enterprise.

Most enterprise search vendors admit that their algorithms provide generally poor results. To compensate, they ask customers to "tune" the search algorithms to meet their specific needs. Sounds good so far, right? In reality, this customer-implemented "tuning" in the context of enterprise search involves significant manual work to create the relevancy algorithm. Common methods employed are boosting metadata terms during indexing, boosting specific documents via scripts or formulas, and boosting specific term weightings at query time. These and other approaches require a significant amount of manual programming work on behalf of the customer, are often based on trial and error approaches, and are just hard to maintain. After all, do you want to run your business or get your Ph.D. in search?

The biggest problem with this "tuning" approach is the complexity of administering the code and scripts. Search administrators, representing the needs of thousands of users in their organization, must manually assign weights or boosts to specific metadata, documents, or query terms. These assignments are made through complex configuration scripts and algorithms that must be coded into the engine. Anytime a value is modified, the engine must be restarted, and sometimes the content re-indexed. Therefore, tuning search is a bit like the Butterfly Effect. In the classic example, mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz asks: If a butterfly beats its wings in Brazil, will it set off a tornado in Texas?

Well, tuning search in the enterprise can likewise set off a tornado of search results chaos! Using these technologies, the act of "tuning" is actually more comparable to building your own search algorithm. We at Google, on the other hand, recognize that search is a complex science with hundreds of factors that must be taken into account. The Google Search Appliance leverages the work of thousands of engineers to get the correct answer, right out of the box, with no "tuning" required. The system also adapts to the needs of your enterprise, taking into account corpus specific factors and learning how users query, when they misspell words, and how often content is changing.

So we recommend you focus your efforts on more business-style tuning, including creating intuitive user interfaces, uploading your companies unique acronyms and vocabulary as synonyms and suggested queries, and promoting key results using KeyMatch. The Google Search Appliance will take care of the rest, providing fast, secure, and accurate access to information throughout your enterprise.

Today, Google released Google Desktop 4, the next generation desktop search and information application for users. Building on a great thing, Google Desktop 4 added Google Gadgets - visually slick mini-applications that run on your desktop or in your sidebar for delivering specific topical information. We applaud our friends on the desktop team who continue to bring rapid innovation to the user experience in both the consumer and enterprise world.

But, along with the sizzle comes some of the more mundane features that you can't look at or touch (or move around your desktop), but are key to providing the highest quality, most secure information solution in the enterprise. With version 4 of Google Desktop, we have simplified and enhanced the security capabilities to help ensure that no information leaves your enterprise network. When Google Desktop introduced the Search Across Computers feature, there was concern about unintentional transmission of corporate information outside the corporate network. And although we offer group policy settings to fully disable the Search Across Computers feature for both enterprise and consumer versions of the product, we heard feedback from some business customers that they wanted an easier way.

Therefore, we're pleased to announce the Search Across Computer network disable feature. This allows network administrators to block a particular URL, at the network level, that will disable Search Across Computers entirely.

Our goal is to provide a great user experience while maintaining corporate security and conforming to your policies. So give the new Google Desktop 4 a spin, and thanks for all the great feedback.

The Executive Editor of CIO Insight Dan Briody recently interviewed Dave Girouard, VP & GM of Google Enterprise, about what Google is doing to improve search inside of business, what CIOs are asking for, and what's next. Read the full transcript of the discussion at CIO Insight.