« Pricing for Lucid Cloud for MS Azure | Main | Want search 'just like Google'? »

July 06, 2012

Search appliance 'blues'

Over the US Independence day holiday many of us learned that Google is dropping its entry-level search GsaBlue box, the Google Mini. This comes as part of 'summer cleaning', the Mini being dropped with a number of other services and products that are just not hot enough to support the effort. (The one I'll really miss? iGoogle.) Google hasn't provided much information on how successful the GSA 'Blue' has been, but with a price point between $3K US and $10K US I imagine they moved a bunch of them to customers with simple search requirements. 

I think it may have Steve Arnold who said recently that the Google pubic web search and its advertising sales accounting for something like 96% of the company's revenue, so I don't think too many Googlers are upset about losing a small slice of a small slice of revenue. Heck, Mini proficts probably don't even pay the fuel bills for a weekend flight to Europe for the Google 767.

The impact? Well, back then the Mini was new and it was big news. Heck, the bigger  models were even better at not too much more money. Still, enterprise search was an expensive proposition then. Lucene was pretty new and quite rough around the edges; FAST, Exalead and Endeca were selling for upwards of $250K, and needed at least that amount of money to actually get them to work. Google Site Search was there; but not many other enterprise search products were around for that price.

A funny thing happened in the new century. Now enterprise customers are more demanding about search. The GSA - even the larger models - is generally well-received at first. At least as long as the 'Powered by Google' icon is visible. We had one customer tell us that just licensing the Google icon would solve most of his user complaints. And Verity's Andy Feit proved it statistically a year or two later. (Have a look at our post last year 'It's not Google unless it says it's Google'.)

But over time, even when content and user query activity remains about the same, people become increasingly frustrated using the GSA. But will Google abandon the color yellow too? Steve Arnold has wondered on LinkedIn whether the larger Google appliances are going to see the same fate soon. 

The problem isn't that it's an appliance. It's the closed system that people are turning away from. In the enterprise, you can't use the cool techniques that Google uses to generate psychic results on the internet. In the enterprise, managers know what content to boost; Metadata? Fielded search? Boost based on content? Not in the blue (or yellow) world. 

Still, I think Google and the GSA provide pretty darned good value for a certain part of the market. If your data is pretty decent; if you're serving highly interliked web and PDF content; if your data needs are not too demanding - GSA may be the solution you want. But before you spend money blindly, do what you do with any product you buy - verify it works in your environment. And as with any enterprise search platform, allocate a budget to run it properly after roll-out.

Yes, search has changed. Really good low-cost options are available. Where? Well, in addition to Google's site search offerings, there's Lucid Imagination's cloud and on-premises solutions; and some other darned good offerings based on open source: Flax - SearchBlox - and more.

What do you think? Is the loss of the Mini giving you the blues? 

 /s/Miles

(With thanks to Karan!)

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c84cf53ef016768371fbb970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Search appliance 'blues':

Comments

Does Google have a roadmap for GSA? Seems questionable and the configuration + mgmt interface is quite clunky.

The most huge change: the Google Mini has been stopped. You should think about Google Custom Search assuming that you fit the aforementioned conditions: provided that you don't have to record secure content, if open Google as of now records your locales fast, or in the event that you don't have the staff to make OneBoxes. In the event that those conditions don't connect with you might acknowledge Lucene Solr. Yes, the Google apparatus' examination let you know what number of quests prepared no outcomes, yet those reports are totally incorrect for our situation. Not certain why.
---
Very astute post from a reader who is a fan of SearchBlox, a nice little search app based on Lucene, I believe. Thanks for the comment!
/s/ Miles

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.