Enterprise Search: A different ball game for Google

By Trevor Clarke, Computerworld Australia |  Internet, enterprise search, Google

I would say the top three improvements are number one, you are going to see some really neat things coming around search quality. When I mention search quality that is the more academic name for the field of what you actually return to the user. It is not, I think, enough to return a whole long list of documents. You are going to start seeing some really creative ways to generate an answer. I personally have been championing, internally and externally, that the ultimate goal of a search engine is always to give you an answer, it is never to give you a long list of documents. The opponents will always say, what if I just want to sort through, say, 50 documents. I don’t think you ever want to sort through 50 documents. I am guessing you want to synthesis, maybe can you tell me what all these documents are saying about a topic and it should provide you with that synthesised information. So the first area of innovation will be around search quality and all the natural language processing and the work that is coming.

The second piece is more around scale. One of the things I haven’t talked about is our 6.0 release and how you can add more appliances and scale. We actually have the ability to scale to a billion documents for instance. Finally you will see a lot of innovation in the area of reach, which is this concept of we want to continue to get to more and more different content systems, especially in the next 12 months. We can index SharePoint documents and FileNet, Livelink, etcetera. But now we want to get to those long tail, really complicated systems out of the box. We can do them but there is custom work involved to get to those harder systems so we want to simplify it.

And for the developer community – can they expect any enhancements in the near future?

Yes, we do quite a bit for the developer community. If you go to code.google.com you can do a search for enterprise search development stuff. The second area that they do a lot of development is if you do a search for the One Box Gallery, you can see what our partners have done and they are creating these really neat OneBoxes. One of the benefits of Google having this really large footprint of customers is that the tables are turned and now these guys are wanting to say, here, this is how they should integrate with us. Once you get that critical mass that tends to happen. Finally on the enterprise labs I’d personally like to release some new things for the developer community as open source every two to three months. If you go to Enterprise Labs as the third place you can see stuff for developers there.

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