New Google Mini May Reflect Competitive Pressure

In a move that may signal new pricing pressure on paid enterprise search,
Google is adding several advanced features to its
low-end Mini search appliance without changing its prices.

The Mountainview, Calif.-based search company has added enterprise-level
security and bundled its OneBox for Enterprise feature into the Mini. OneBox
provides search results that include data contained in data repositories
such as customer relationship management (CRM) and human resource

Google has also improved the Mini’s ability to search a company’s public Web
site and provide analytic information on customer behavior patterns. All of this without raising the price points of the Mini, which range from $1,995 to $8,995.

The idea is to add more value to its low-end search appliance in the hopes that smaller to medium-sized businesses will prefer it over new entrants such as IBM , which introduced IBM OmniFind Yahoo Edition, an entry-level enterprise search tool that is free.

“We’re taking what is traditionally expensive enterprise-class functionality
and bringing it down to the small business,” said Kevin Gough, enterprise
product manager at Google. Gough said Google had planned to lower the price point for these
features independently of the IBM/Yahoo announcement. Free versions of enterprise search have always been on the market, he noted, and haven’t gained significant traction.

“The Mini has always differentiated itself with its user interface and focus
on the user experience,” he told

Google still commands a majority of the enterprise search market, but it faces new challengers, and pricing pressure.

Forrester analyst Matt Brown noted that OmniFind has many of the same
enterprise search capabilities as those offered by Google, including
security, and can search up to 500,00 documents.

The lowest-end Mini, by contrast, searches up to 50,000 documents and goes
up to 300,000 documents for the higher-end version. “There’s no doubt they’re going to featurize the Mini,” Brown said.

Nick Patience, an analyst with The 451Group, said the IBM/Yahoo offering changes the game for enterprise search. Google’s enhancements to the Mini are an indication that the overall cost of enterprise search is being forced down. “What we may be
seeing is the end of paid enterprise search.”

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