Google's enterprise search solution, the Google Search Appliance (GSA), now reaches beyond an organization's data repositories to connect to cloud-based sources of content. The new Cloud Connect feature for the GSA lets users get personalized results from cloud sources including Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) own Google Docs and Sites as well as Twitter, blogs and industry sites.
Available now, Cloud Connect lets GSA users search across both on-premises and cloud-based sources of content without any additional hardware.
The news comes at a time of growing enterprise interest in cloud-based services. Sue Feldman, enterprise search analyst at IDC, said Google isn't the first enterprise search vendor to connect to the cloud, but Google can offer unique value in giving users personalized results from Google Docs and Sites.
"What Google has done is upgrade the GSA to meet the trend of offering more federated search capabilities across multiple sources in multiple locations," Feldman told InternetNews.com.
"What's important here is the collaborative aspect. With access to Google Docs and Calendar, you can get more personalized results," she added.
Cloud Connect results appear alongside the results GSA has always provided from traditional repositories, including file shares and content management systems.
Other new features in Cloud Connect include People Search and Dynamic Navigation.
Google said People Search is designed to make it easier for users to find experts and coworkers connected to a search query. For example, a search for "technical support" would return a list of company personnel with that expertise as well as other relevant content. Google includes an LDAP connector to help administrators implement People Search more quickly.
"Organizations can index personnel information like department, interests, expertise and location," Rajat Mukherjee, group product manager for enterprise search, said in a blog post announcing the GSA update.
Google said adding Dynamic Navigation, which lets users drill deeper into search results by adding search modifiers, was a top user request. The new GSA, officially GSA 6.8, now also gives users access to SharePoint 2010 content without IT having to add a connector.