Google Search Appliance gets bigger, better, stores 10M docs in a box

The Google Search Appliance, which can make all of a company’s data accessible through through a simple Google search interface, is getting an upgrade. There are a bunch of improvements being announced, but the most attention-grabbing involves size — the capacity of a single Search Appliance box has more than tripled, from 3 million documents to 10 million.

That’s a substantial improvement to what was already one of the search appliance’s biggest draws — rather than requiring lots of servers and other hardware, Google can probably store all the needed content in a single device. Lead Product Manager Nitin Mangtani says most enterprise search solutions would require 10, 15 or even 20 servers to store that much data.

Mangtani says this is the first major upgrade since Google announced last year that the then-latest version of the search appliance would be able to search a number of different media types, including text, video and images. In addition to the boosted capacity, the appliance now allows for greater customization — companies can weight search results based on metadata, such as the document author or document type (see screenshot below), or can present different search results to different departments. Users can also receive notifications when new content gets added, a la Google Alerts.

Google’s enterprise search customer base has been growing, too — Mangtani says there are now 20,000 customers, double the number reported last October.

In addition to the search appliance, Google’s enterprise search products also include the more affordable Google Mini, and the newly revamped Google Site Search. Other leaders in the enterprise search market include Autonomy and Fast Search and Transfer, which Microsoft acquired in April.

(And before anyone asks, no, I don’t know why the search appliance looks like a large piece of cheese.)