Google launches smallest Mini yet

Update: The newest addition to the Google Mini family is aimed squarely at smaller companies who want to beef up their search powers
Written by Andrew Donoghue, Contributor

Google has launched its latest hardware search appliance aimed at the business market, and this time the company is targeting small to medium-sized companies with what it claims is its "most affordable Mini ever".

Launched on Thursday, the hardware appliance has the capacity to search up to 50,000 documents and includes a year of support for £1,295.

"The price point for this product is a huge motivator. £1,200 is the price of a laptop or a Gucci handbag," Arvind Desikan, Google product marketing manager, told ZDNet UK.

A second year of support and hardware replacement coverage costs around $995 (£567) for US customers, but UK pricing was not available at the time of writing.

The Google Mini is designed to enable small businesses to let employees and Web site visitors search documents, including blog postings and wiki entries. Google hopes to find customers among healthcare organisations, educational institutions, government agencies, and small to medium-sized businesses such as law firms and consultancies.

The original Mini, released last January, handles 100,000 documents and sells for £1,995 in the UK. Other Minis in the range include versions that can search 200,000 or 300,000 documents.

"A lot of our competitors systems take a week or more to set-up and they take a lot of tweaking and testing. Setting up search should not be so esoteric," said Desikan.

The Minis are aimed at smaller businesses than Google's other hardware device, the Google Search Appliance, which is designed for larger businesses and can support up to 15 million documents. The search appliance includes a variety of features such as direct database indexing, continuous crawling of content for fresher search indexes, unlimited search collections, RAID (to provide continued service in the event of hard disk failure) and support for user-level document security.

Google Mini is offered with a 30-day return policy so that companies can test to see if it works to their satisfaction with their systems.

The launch of Google's latest Mini coincides with Oracle's announcement that it is pushing into the enterprise search market. Oracle's Secure Enterprise Search is designed to allow organisations quickly scour databases, email systems and other corporate software for information.

Desikan said he was unaware of the exact details of Oracle announcement but claimed that the two companies had different strengths." They have the database experience and we have the search experience," he said.

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