Google has revamped its business search site, and rechristened it Google Site Search (it was previously called Custom Search Business Edition). It’s the SaaS version of the Google Search Appliance, but it’s limited to website data because the hosted software can only see public data.
So essentially it’s custom search for e-commerce websites. Almost completely unrelated to storage. . .except when it came to one of Google’s customer references for Site Search: EMC’s Insignia website, which sells some of EMC’s lower-end products online. Prior to implementing the site search, apparently the Insignia site had no search functionality. Visitors had to page through the site manually–including when it came time to look for support documents or troubleshooting tips.
EMC’s webmaster Layla Rudy was quoted in Google’s collateral as saying that sales have gone up 20% since they added search to the site. Moreover, according to her statement, there has been an 85% decrease in customer-requested refunds now that they can find the correct product in the first place as well as its associated support documents. What’s especially amazing about this to me is that Insignia is a relatively new business unit, rolled out by EMC within the last three years–it’s not like it was the 90′s when Google was relatively unknown or site search a “nice to have” feature of most websites.
Of course, I don’t know how long the Insignia site was up without search, or what the absolute numbers are when it comes to the refund decrease–85% can be 8.5 out of 10 or 85 out of 100. (EMC hasn’t returned my calls on this).
Meanwhile, with EMC getting into cloud computing, I wonder what kind of search — if any — it makes available on backup/recovery or archiving SaaS websites. Right now Google claims its Search Appliance can index onsite and offsite repositories and, unlike the SaaS version, can search protected private data. While there are no plans to make this a feature of the hosted version, service providers can offer hosted search by managing their own appliance in the cloud. Whatever they chose, hopefully it was a Day One feature.