12,000 employees? 56 offices worldwide? Nearly 100 million documents? Yup - we'd say our enterprise search problem was pretty big... Of course, we were able to get a great discount on a couple powerful Google Search Appliances! :)

In fact, we really exploited the power of the Google Search Appliance in many unique and interesting ways so we thought this blog could be a great place to let you in on some of our Intranet search secrets and best practices...

To start with, we chose to place a checkbox underneath the search box which allows users to pass their search queries to an alternate front end where we can try neat experiments (like different ways to return the results, new and interesting OneBox implementations, etc.). Since only some percentage checks the box, it gives us a great way to test out new ideas and new technologies before releasing them to the main search results page. For instance, you might want to use this alternate front end to test out a different look-and-feel for your XSLT; you might want to filter out certain domains to see if it improves the results; you might want to try out some new OneBox modules; you might want to turn on/off Query Expansion (word stemming, synonyms, etc.); you might want to try source biasing. In future posts we'll talk about the many ways in which we've used this Next search screen.

To add an alternate experimental front end and a checkbox to get to it is not very difficult. Click here to see the simple 3-step process.

The screenshot below shows all the tremendous amount of rich information we provide when users even enter just a simple three letter query.

This is an actual live screenshot (with some data sanitization, of course) showing what users see once they query for 'gfs'. You'll see that, in addition to the highly relevant search results, the user is able to see a variety of useful OneBox implementations such as Googler information and user-created bookmarks, they can segment their search to just tech documents, they can narrow their search even further, or, they can add their own KeyMatch if they didn't find the result they wanted.

In upcoming blog posts, we'll talk about how to implement some of these other features. Some of you may choose to follow along with these posts and try out these methods and we encourage it! If you ever have any questions, please feel free to join or write to our Google Search Appliance group at

Stay tuned for much more!


In the spirit of celebrating small successes, I want to give a shout out to Google Enterprise Professional partner LimitNone, who recently passed the 100 customer mark for their gMOVE/gXFER Google Apps migration products.

These tools help Microsoft Outlook and Gmail users migrate their data to Google Apps, and complement some of the other migration tools available today, including our own IMAP migration feature.

Congrats to the team at LimitNone!


We launched the latest version of Google Earth Enterprise today, with a number of new features, including the ability to display enterprise search results (from say, the Google Search Appliance) on the globe inside Google Earth. You can read all about it on the Google geo blog.

We're very excited to enable customers to easily publish Google Earth Enterprise datasets in a browser, so that employees across the organization can leverage the power of Google Earth. I thought I'd share a little about what our customers are saying:
  • Dell is pleased to take advantage of the new features of Google Earth Enterprise for both marketing and customer support. By visualizing global website traffic at in Google Earth, we are building a stronger sense of community with our internal and external partners through awareness and better visibility around traffic trends and patterns. In addition, our global Enterprise Command Center gains a global view of customer activity at a glance, ensuring optimum responsiveness for customers with Enterprise Silver, Gold and Platinum Plus support. Google Earth gives us the intuitive yet powerful interface to critical business information that we need to manage effectively in today's fast paced business environment.
- Jamie Wills, vice president of sales and marketing systems, Dell
  • Norsk Hydro welcomes Google Earth Enterprise as an innovative tool for our global exploration efforts. With Google Earth's intuitive 3D geo-browsing experience, researchers can visualize data more effectively, allowing us to explore areas of interest more efficiently than ever. Deployed in our Research Centre in Bergen, Norway, the Google Earth Enterprise system is used to synthesize large quantities of global data including high resolution imagery and terrain models and dozens of vector layers that are relevant to Hydro's interests. It's an eye opening experience to see years of accumulated geological and geophysical data appear with just a few clicks.
- Ole Martinsen, Head of Exploration Research, Norsk Hydro
  • Google Earth Enterprise enhances our ability to identify, track and update critical infrastructure throughout Alabama. Our Virtual Alabama information sharing database is anchored by Google Earth Enterprise. The incorporation of Google Earth Enterprise into the Virtual Alabama model will dramatically improve the speed and accessibility of Virtual Alabama to our user population.
- Jim Walker, Homeland Security Director, State of Alabama

We'd love to hear how Google Earth Enterprise is helping your business benefit from geographic information, so please let us know.


One thing we've all learned from the Internet is that just because you see something in "print," it doesn't mean that's the whole story, or that it's entirely factual. You always need to check the source and make sure it's trustworthy. I was reminded of that point recently when I received a white paper published by Autonomy, one of our enterprise search competitors.

The topic of the paper was, oddly enough, Google. Let me first note that I was surprised that the Autonomy marketing folks took the time to write a whole paper (nicely formatted and all) on our enterprise search efforts.

That notwithstanding, the more I read, the more concerned I became. The paper would lead a customer or prospect to believe a number of things about Google that are just fundamentally not true. Inaccuracies about our enterprise ranking algorithms, and downright fabrications about our security and access control capabilities. The text is an amalgamation of hearsay and speculation attempting to push customers away from Google and toward their competitive product.

I decided the best course of action was to both set the record straight, and remind everyone of a key lesson. So for the record, let me call out some specific points:

1. Relevancy: The paper states that Google "relies on rich linking technology that was built for the Web to determine relevancy." This is false, and it's misleading. Google's enterprise search algorithms rely on hundreds of factors, only one of which is PageRank, to determine the most relevant content within an enterprise. We leverage the work of the largest engineering team focused on search and information retrieval in the world to solve this complex search problem.

2. Reach / Aggregation: Autonomy states in their paper that "Non secure web servers can be indexed out of the box but, integrating information from databases, file systems and content management applications into Google is considerably more complex -- and in some cases impossible." Google's appliance can natively reach into all content stores in an enterprise, including web servers, file servers, databases, document management systems, and business applications. All of this is offered as out of the box (or, ironically enough in the case of the appliance, "in the box") functionality. You can take a Google Search Appliance or Google Mini from its cardboard box to serving content from file systems and databases in less than 30 minutes. What's the setup time for other enterprise search systems?

3. Languages Support: The paper reports that Google's search is "language dependent technology that currently only supports 28 languages." It is true that we have a feature that supports the auto-detection of 28 languages, and if your query was in one of those 28, we'll offer you results in that language. And of course, offer you all results as well. This is a popular end-user feature on However, our indexing and search is by no means restricted to those 28 languages.

4. Stemming: Autonomy states that "Google does not provide advanced language support such as stemming." This one is just wrong. A while back we added a query expansion feature which performs the same function as stemming, but just does it smarter. Anybody can do things like taking "park" and make it "parks" -- but in a lot of cases, we've seen that unintelligent stemming actually will make results worse. Drawing off of the intelligence derived from billions of queries, we know that a good solution will detect context, and expand a query like "city park" to also include "public park" but not "city parking." So, whether you want to call what the appliance does "smart stemming" or "Context Sensitive Query Expansion" (the latter being what our marketing team chose) it's a core feature of our product.

5. Security: In perhaps the most egregious statement in the whole document, the paper states that "Google provides open access to most documents -- a potential hazard for businesses needing to keep proprietary information under wraps." From the beginning, we have provided fast, accurate, and SECURE search within the enterprise. Our document-level security and access control capabilities ensure that users only see the content they are allowed to see, without requiring customers to deploy a new security system or undergo complex integrations. Google's appliances are used in the most secure environments including Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies as well as numerous government agencies.

That's it for setting the record straight. I have by no means covered every point, but I think you get the picture. We have been working for more than 5 years with a team dedicated specifically to solving the enterprise search problem, and hold a market leadership position with over 9,000 enterprise search customers. We leverage the work and innovation of the world's largest search company, and deliver that consumer powered innovation to the enterprise. But you don't have to take my word for it: feel free to talk to any one of our thousands of delighted customers.

And about that lesson: Just because it's printed and looks official, doesn't mean it's accurate.


Nitin Mangtani, Product Manager for Google Custom Search Business Edition, will be a featured guest on our weekly public site search webinar series. Nitin will be available to answer questions about Google Custom Search, our new hosted site search offering, or upcoming cricket Test matches. You can sign up for a session on Jul 25 @ 11am PDT or Aug 1 @ 11am PDT.


From the very beginning, we've recognized that, in order for customers to get the most out of Google Apps, they will want to enjoy the Apps but not rip out their infrastructure to do so. As a result, we've tried to have open APIs to our applications and to Google Apps administration. One key area is corporate directories, and most companies already manage their users through their LDAP or equivalent directory service.

To give customers a jump start in migrating and synchronizing users from their LDAP directory, we've created an LDAP synchronization tool that we are releasing on However, while many companies have an LDAP directory, they often use it in different ways. Because of this, we've decided to release this into open source, so many developers can improve and adapt the tool to their own needs. The tool is written in Python, and uses the Google Apps User Provisioning API to create, delete, and suspend users.

Best of all, we eat our own dogfood, and we've used this tool here at Google to synchronize with our own LDAP directory. We run our own business on Google Apps, and we want other companies to benefit from this effort.

We hope to see a thousands flowers bloom, and look forward to other developers adding to and morphing the tool for their own needs. You can find the project at:


In our nearly six years in enterprise search, we’ve always looked to develop offerings that would help businesses of all sizes find and share the right information with their employees, customers and target audiences when they needed it. Today, we’re building on this heritage by announcing our newest solution for enterprise public website search: Custom Search Business Edition (CSBE).

CSBE builds on the Google Custom Search Engine -- a hosted search solution introduced last October that allows organizations to create a website search engine and search results that are tailored to their point of view. Since our launch, businesses have asked for increased flexibility and support. We're addressing these needs with CSBE. Businesses that want further control over results presentation and integration with their website can obtain results through XML. Businesses now have the option to turn off ads and can have further control over branding. In addition, CSBE provides options for email and phone support. You can sign up for CSBE starting at $100 per year for searching up to 5,000 pages.

We think this addition to our enterprise suite of search tools will be just the thing for the millions of businesses lacking the technical resources to set up search for their websites. We also expect Business Edition to offer a much-needed boost to site owners whose entire company depends on their ability to guide visitors to the right information about their company and its offerings as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Here's how to obtain CSBE for your business.


Since we first launched it in August 2006, Google Apps has become one of our most flexible offerings. It's helping to meet the needs of family domains, businesses of all sizes, Internet Service Providers and universities. Starting today, we're extending the Education Edition of Google Apps to registered nonprofits.

We're excited about this development not only because nonprofits, like universities, can benefit from access to powerful technology tools that don't strain overburdened budgets, but because we believe our technologies should promote as much of a positive impact in the non-commercial world as we hope they do for commercial enterprises.

In addition to the hosted suite of communication and collaboration tools such as email, calendaring, and online document-sharing -- available for free through Google Apps Standard Edition -- nonprofits can now access additional product and support offerings available to universities at no additional cost, including:

  • Email migration tools to help transfer existing inboxes to Google Apps
  • 24/7 assistance, including phone support for critical issues
  • Extensibility APIs to integrate with existing IT systems

Many nonprofits including the Nonprofit Technology Network, Mercy Corps,, and the East Bay Community Recovery Project have already moved their IT infrastructure over to Google Apps with positive results. Ltech Consulting, one of Google's Enterprise Professionals, has even begun offering discounted Google Apps services to nonprofit groups.

We couldn't be happier about enabling a wide range of nonprofits to carry out their incredibly important work. To find out more or sign up, visit


Since launching Google Apps last August, companies of all sizes have experienced the benefits of delivering simple, useful hosted applications to their employees. However, larger organizations are frequently forced to choose between taking advantage of the latest innovations that will make employees more productive and ensuring security and corporate compliance. As noted on the Official Google Blog, we're excited to announce that we've agreed to acquire Postini, a company that offers hosted security and compliance solutions for email, IM, and other web-based communications. Postini already serves more than 35,000 businesses and 10 million users and was one of our first Google Enterprise Partners for Google Apps.

Postini's offerings are a natural complement to our technology, and we are excited about giving businesses the opportunity to make the leap to hosted applications, such as Google Apps, more quickly. The acquisition of Postini comes on the heels of our recent release of email migration tools, which have already been used to migrate millions of email messages from legacy systems over to Google Apps. And it's part of our ongoing commitment to meet the needs of organizations of all sizes with Google Apps.

For organizations that are not yet ready to jump full force into hosted applications, Postini's proven messaging security and corporate compliance management solutions are a great place to start. You can request a demo or sign up for a test drive right now.

We hope that by providing a more complete communication and messaging solution, even more users will have the chance to experience the joy of hosted applications like Google Apps.