Introduction to Google Search Appliance

Oct 20, 2010
Shawn Simon

A quick look at the Google Search Appliance

INTRODUCING: Marcello Davalos as my GUEST BLOGGER.
Marcello is a Senior Engineer with Oshyn and a software expert in OOD with .Net and Java.  He is a subject matter expert in the CMS integration space.

Google Search  Appliance

Google it!  The most popular search engine in the market is now available for internal company and site use.  Google offers the Google Search Appliance (GSA) and Google Mini as a private search engine solution for any internal company use.

Google Mini

Let’s start looking what GSA is.  It’s a commercial version of the traditional Google search engine installed in a server running a linux-google version OS black box.  This server can be bought from Google and installed for our companies or clients to be used for an internal search of the company documentation, company intranet or even as the company public site search engine.

The installation is as easy as any that Google could offer.  Once the server is connected to the network, we only need to configure the network on the server and it’s ready to run.

Then we access the administration site, usually http://gsa-ip-addres:8000/, and we can start setting the sites or data bases to crawl.   The crawling process may take a while depending on the number of pages and sites we set the search engine to go over, but once it is over, we have fast results like we are used to with our traditional Google service over the internet.

The advantages of GSA are that we can quickly find any information in our companies and any related documentation that may not be in the same site.  Additionally it’s a simple interface, which most of us are used to.

Additionally, we can connect GSA with other applications like .net, java or even CMS, which can send the petitions by http requests and get the results as xml documents ready to be processed.  This functionality simplifies the way to integrate a search engine for global site search functionality.

There are a few limitations encountered with GSA, and among those is trying to create functionalities like search suggest.  GSA does searches by whole words and not by partial words like “stu” for “student”.  Additionally, it currently only sorts results by the relevance or by the date it was crawled, so we will have some limitations to very specific functionalities on the sites.

Overall, Google is a great alternative to offer the power of a search engine, especially in a CMS where we want to create dynamic content or search results and which don’t have the support of a traditional data base.

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