Since its launch as a search engine in 1998, Google has branched out of the cyber world and taken some bold steps into the physical one. But long before Google’s foray into Nexus hardware had begun, there was the GSA (Google Search Appliance). Introduced a decade ago in 2002, the GSA was a rack-mounted piece of hardware manufactured specifically for the storage and discovery of enterprise data. Capable of being integrated into a company’s intranet or document management system, it enabled users to “Google search” what they were looking for from among a company’s vast array of stored data files.
The Emergence of GSA 7.0
Flash forward to October 9, when Google announced the release of the GSA 7.0. The 7.0 boasts a freshly tweaked “secret sauce” that reportedly makes it an even more effective tool for enterprise search through the implementation of some functions not previously available in earlier versions. Here’s a quick glimpse into some of the improvements.
- A bigger database capacity. With the new 7 series of the GSA, enterprises can now index about a billion pages’ worth of information, which is the equivalent of Google’s search engine indexing capabilities back in 2000.
- Document preview. As a timesaving feature, users can now preview documents before using up valuable time and bandwidth downloading them. This feature supports Microsoft Word documents (.doc and .docx), PowerPoint documents, and Adobe PDF documents.
- Increased flexibility in metadata configuration, which is critical to enabling users to find information quickly by assigning a wide number of search terms. This allows the discovery of files and data without having to key in a short list of acceptable search keywords.
- Additional security enhancements. Many corporations are required to guard their internal information under the threat of fines and lawsuits, but even those that aren’t compelled by some higher authority understand the critical nature of securing their proprietary data. The GSA 7.0 ratchets up on security concerns.
Who Needs Enterprise Search and Why?
Corporations that need to make their internal information available to their workforce all need functional enterprise search tools. Boiled down to a single word, the reason why is: productivity. When you speed up the discovery of information, you eliminate overhead costs and provide better customer service. Wrap those two things together and you’re left with a powerful combo punch of efficiency, which is something that corporations are always striving for.
Just consider the amount of information that your average mid- to large-sized corporation has stored in its databases. We’re talking everything from annual reports to training materials to companywide email addresses. The bigger the company gets, the greater the volume of information it collects and stores. For most big companies, the act of retrieving stored data can turn into a nightmare even for those who know where the information is stored. But imagine being able to incorporate all of that data into a singular search platform that’s as user friendly as Google is. That’s what happens when a company puts a GSA in place, basically empowering employees to “Google” what they’re looking for.
With a not-surprising 60 percent of corporate employees saying that finding critical organizational information is on a level with drawing blood from a stone, you can see why Google snatched up the opportunity to offer up a product to answer the dilemma. Google is reportedly in the midst of a major push campaign to get some of the biggest companies in the world to hop aboard the GSA bandwagon, but whether or not the product’s popularity ever really catches on beyond the level of a novelty offering is anybody’s guess.