Google: Enterprise search is not a solved problem

Large differences between web and enterprise search, but overlap could benefit Google

Brent VerWeyst, product manager for enterprise search at Google, spoke to the keynote crowd at the Gilbane Conference last week. His message was that enterprise search is a different animal than web search, but that Google can still use what they've learned on the consumer side to enhance it.

VerWeyst pointed out the obvious when he said that enterprise search was far from a solved problem, but Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is working to bring new capabilities to it and is continuing to build on their enterprise search offering.

Among those new features are translation, which provides on-the-fly translation for documents in multiple languages. As VerWeyst pointed out, as teams are spread out across the world, customers were beginning to ask for ways to translate important documents found through the search process, so this is a feature they recently added with help from pieces developed on the consumer side.

Another issue they've come across that fits in nicely with Google search is the move to the cloud. As VerWeyst pointed out, content has traditionally been stored in file shares, but it is increasingly moving to the cloud, "Some of the content is outside in these other systems and we want to search across these repositories," he said

He said when you look at cloud apps and documents, there is a fundamental shift in how these documents are stored because each one has a unique URL. "Traditionally," he explained "you don't have this unique link structure. When you think about the linkage, you suddenly have this link structure that looks a lot like web pages in structure," he said.

And if that's the direction of enterprise search, this is certainly a way of searching that Google is very comfortable doing. 

The nature of enterprise search may be changing, but it could be changing in ways that play to Google's strengths in consumer search and as that happens, Google's Enterprise Search Appliance could generate better results.

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