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Google Introduces Black Box Search Solution
Another WebmasterWorld Exclusive. For a few hours anyway...

 6:58 am on Feb 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

We've been talking about it [webmasterworld.com] for a few months behind the scenes and had agreed with Google to remain quiet about it. However, on Monday Google is set to introduce the first Black Box (so called Internet Appliance) search solution ever put out by a search engine. It includes both software AND hardware.

Other companies have done one or the other, but never both. Altavista, Infoseek, Excite, and Inktomi have all offered search software before. This is the first time a major company with a history of search has put the duo together.

According to clients, Google is offering the appliance in two models:
one that is capable of indexing 200,00 documents that sells for under $19,500 and a beefier model with a million page plus capacity for $225k.

Evidently, Google has embargoed this story until sometime this week.



 7:37 am on Feb 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

I wish them well. It's clear that Google's success comes very much from their technical know-how with both hardware and software. So they will start out with great credibility in corporate IT departments.

If their solution delivers on its promise, this can help keep their free web search free.


 7:47 am on Feb 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

Does this mean that someday there may be a googol googles on the net? Gawl Dang I wish I had $20,000 to invest. I bet it comes with all sorts of nifty configuration options. . . If I have this right it may mean a googol new places to recieve traffic from!!! Way to Googol Go! er.. Way to go Google!!!!

Black Box = Can O' Whoop A#$;



 8:01 am on Feb 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

There's an article here:
Reuters [story.news.yahoo.com]

I said a while ago that 2002 is going to be an exciting year. :)


 9:59 am on Feb 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think this is a smart move of Google. As Google is further developing their technics for the search engines, they can easily sell their old technics. The real Google will remain better. And the software limits the amount of pages that can be indexed. The real Google indexes a lot more pages. The software will become no threat to them. Besides only big companies can affort the software at those prices.


 10:04 am on Feb 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

I would love more technical details about this box.


 10:13 am on Feb 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

If we findout the software is the same as Google runs, anyone want to go in for half?


 11:09 am on Feb 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

So from the reuters article, it appears this "appliance" is primarily aimed at scanning and indexing internal networks, intranets, and the like.

Can/Will it be used for web indexing?
I'm not sure how this will effect us?



 12:04 pm on Feb 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

The term "appliance" is somewhat confusing, as it traditionally is more associated with consumer markets. Guess they simply didn't find a better term, and "turnkey intranet search box" was shot down by the marketing department... ;)

What I find interesting here, is that the recently introduced indexing of office file formats suddenly starts to make much more sense in this new context (though I still hope they'll eventually put it on a seperate tab on their web site).


 12:37 pm on Feb 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

I was wondering if the 'Google Box' could be used for optimizing search engine results for internet websites. Now you have to wait for a month to see if your new optimisations had some influence. With such a device you could rip for example the top 50 websites for a certain keyword and create test environment with direct feedback! It has some inaccuracy, but it could be still a valuable tool.


 1:03 pm on Feb 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

From the article reference by GoogleGuy: "However, it said individual companies will be able to determine the parameters of the in-house searches in conducts."

Mmmmm... seems like this could give some insight into the algo. Though, it's not clear to me what Pagerank would have to do with a corporate database.


 1:11 pm on Feb 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>If we findout the software is the same as Google runs, anyone want to go in for half?

It seems likely to me from the prog contest that google software is written in C/C++. This means that the box probably has only compiled code, hardly worth examining.


 1:38 pm on Feb 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

"Though, it's not clear to me what Pagerank would have to do with a corporate database."

Well, pagerank could work just fine. It's just a very small set of page's so you have to tweak some parameters to let PR work (If the algo is smart, i should tweak it along the way, like #referrers needed for PR 8 etc)

I wonder if you could do a mixed search: Search local & internet docs en merge the results.


 2:00 pm on Feb 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

>> This means that the box probably has only compiled code, hardly worth examining.

Yes, but I'm sure that you could learn to tweak the parameters/crawled URLs etc to come up with a pretty good empirical testbed for a limited subset of the web.

For instance if you were in a number of sectors were the Google SERPS returned approximately 150,000 (but no more than say, 500,000) results, and you could learn to set your "black box" up to get at least the top 50 or so pages matching Google, you could test several versions of your new, upgraded site to see what works best.

You could maintain multiple datasets, 1 per keyword/phrase that you wish to test, and offer your best/richest custmers better Google analysis for $500/year.

You only need 40 sign-ups (or 20 for 2 years, whatever) to more or less pay for it, and you'll likely learn something about Google into the bargain. Thats got to be worth it for the real hard-core SEO pros, surely?


 4:25 pm on Feb 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>If we findout the software is the same as Google runs, anyone want to go in for half?

Brett, I've been involved with enough big companies to know the right hand usually doesn't know what the left hand is doing. I think it's very unlikely this intranet search box will be running the same software as the Internet search, or at least not for long.

For one thing, I would think an intranet search algorithm would want to replace spam filters with snoop filters. It probably wouldn't make a big hit to trash the CEO's newsletter while caching his private e-mail to his secretary.

I really hope this product gives Google a fat new revenue source. Then maybe they can become more competitive with their Adwords.


 4:52 pm on Feb 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yeah...adult keyword + ceo name search the intranet and WHOPPAAA another great item for the company intranet forum ;-)

Snoop filters sounds like a kind of censorship. Maybe a tool for the managers that returns all suspicious queries. A Big-brother filter. With some creative hacking that Google box can be so much more than just a search tool ;-)


 7:26 pm on Feb 11, 2002 (gmt 0)



 8:53 pm on Feb 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

If you could spider pages on the web for your own personal SE it would be a great way to add 20,000 to over a million pages of free content on your website.

Just my 2 cents now if I just had 2,000,000 more I could find out for myself :)



 1:35 am on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

I am a bit sceptical if this is the best direction Google needs to go.

Is this their core competency? Wouldn't it be better to spend the research dollars on better search results, more understanding how people look for things, etc.?


 1:36 am on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

From what I gather from these articles it seems to me that this will only be available for intranet search. At first look I thought this may well be available for a dot .com to have their own mini search engine w/ google like amenities i.e. your own personal spider regiment disecting the web. Now that I think about it Google probably figures that any web site can already put google search on their site. Perhaps this was more blatantly obvious to most of you. Does anyone know for sure if it's intranet exclusive? I still think it would be awesome if web sites could buy their own personal mini-google. $20,000 is $20,000.

999,996 cents to go;



 3:11 am on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hey greektomi, I believe the FAQ page says that the Search Appliance is not intranet exclusive:

Q. Will the Google Search Appliance work on my external web servers?
A. Yes, you can search all of your external Web servers.

Q. Will the Google Search Appliance work on my intranet?
A. Yes, you can search all of your intranet Web servers.

Hope this helps,


 3:19 am on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

>> companies locate documents within their own databases

I've created a few versions of search engines for a limited corporate database. The difference between a corporate database and the internet is there is no spam in a corporate intranet.


 6:09 am on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks Googleguy if the fAQ doesn't make it all to clear your post certainly did. Now to start rolling my quarters.



 2:36 pm on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Wow, Google hasn't failed to impress me yet, and this is no different. But I am slightly concerned because I would not want to see spammers buy a box like this just to use as a test bed for "cracking the algo" and learn a previously unknown way to abuse Google.com's results. (Although test beds for legitimate google opimization is a great idea).

I am sure there are safeguards and the like in place to keep this from happening: the algo itself, for instance, is probably crafted in such a way that it might not even be possible to spam it. Further, not being able to see how your page ranks compared to the entire google database would be a show stopper as well, but I would be disappointed to see this cause any problems.

It really does look like Google in a box (a really cool looking box at that). What kind of safegaurds might be in place to keep the kind of abuse I described from happening? GoogleGuy, your thoughts?


 3:11 pm on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

This is really cool and I want one. But like some others I am also concerned that in the wrong hands, this could be very bad news for the Google serp's down the road. Now Google has a lot of very smart people working for them so you would think they already thought of this. So I guess that:

a) they have taken precautions
b) soon google.com will have a new algo


 9:13 pm on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Will Google's PageRankô scoring method work on my intranet content?
Yes. PageRank is effective on intranets, as well as external sites.

I thought PageRankô is only effective for google.com or hosted site search? If I am indexing 20,000 pages what would be the advantage of knowing how this pages are interconnected internally. Can I download my site's page rank info (if it is available ?) from google.com or am I far off ?

Also does the spell check work for all the supported languages?


 2:34 am on Feb 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Does this work in Japanese, or it is English only?


 4:36 am on Feb 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

I haven't come across any news of this daikon. There's an article [japan.cnet.com] about the Google box in Japanese on CNet, but it doesn't mention Japanese language capability. I didn't see anything else in the Japanese media. Maybe GoogleGuy knows.


 5:56 am on Feb 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Here's an article [watch.impress.co.jp] from Impress Internet Watch (in Japanese) that says this service can handle 28 languages.


 6:07 am on Feb 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yeah, it looks like they're just summarizing what's on the English Google page [google.com]. There's nothing about this on the Japanese Google site [google.co.jp].

Anyone know which 28 languages are supported?

This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >
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