Explore The Cloud: Google Updates Search Appliance

Google on Monday added new cloud functionality to its Google Search Appliance that lets users search content stored both on-site and in the cloud.

Launched in 2006, Google's Search Appliance is the search giant's rack-mount server for businesses that want to add Google's search capabilities to their corporate networks through internal search.

The new feature to the Google Search Appliance called Cloud Connect displays relevant, personalized results from Google Docs and Google Slides alongside results from more traditional repositories like file shares and content management systems.

Google said the addition of Cloud Connect allows easier access to collaborative documents, spreadsheets, presentations and sites. It also lets users search content from Twitter, as well as blogs and industry web sites via Google Site Search.

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"[T]he Cloud Connect feature brings 'universal search' to a new level, with more accessible business systems and content now spanning from cloud to ground," wrote Google Enterprise Search Group Product Manager Rajat Mukherjee in a post on Google's Enterprise Blog.

The move to add cloud searching capabilities to the Google Search Appliance comes as more information and data is shifted to the cloud. According to Google, its Google Apps cloud collaboration and communication suite is now used by more than 3 million businesses. "Cloud Connect for the Google Search Appliance lets workers search across both on-premise and cloud-based content from a single search box, delivering more comprehensive results and improving productivity," Mukherjee wrote.

NEXT: Google Also Adds People Search, Dynamic Navigation

Along with bridging cloud and on-premise data through search, the updates to Google Search Appliance also speed and improve collaboration between employees with a new feature dubbed People Search.

Google said that People Search makes it easier to find experts and contact workers who are related to a specific search query directly from the results page. Mukherjee wrote that a search for "field marketing" will return a list of field marketing team members alongside other relevant content returned through the search. Personnel information can be indexed by department, interests, expertise and location and People Search can leverage an LDAP connector to get it up and running.

Google also added a new Dynamic Navigation feature to Google Search Appliance that lets users drill down into search results based on search modifiers for other queries, and Active-Active Mirror improves search reliability by spreading search traffic across multiple boxes. Mukherjee wrote that Dynamic Navigation was a top user request.

Lastly, Google also updated the Search Appliance to support Microsoft SharePoint 2010 content, which can now be searched without additional connectors.

"As you move your business to the cloud, the Google Search Appliance’s new features can be an important bridge between on-premise and cloud-based systems, while enhancing employee collaboration," Mukherjee wrote.