New York — Google Inc. on Thursday said it has introduced a new feature called “On-Demand Indexing” to its Google Site Search service giving a speedy boost to help businesses that uses its service to place the freshest search engine results in front of visitors and customers. New feature provides control to Web publishers over the frequency with which Google refreshes its index of Site Search’s content.
The move is designed to gain a footing in the highly competitive enterprise search market, to help businesses that employ its Site Search service to instantly integrate and update new Web pages in the latest phase of its expansion into business services where Microsoft Fast, Autonomy, Endeca, Vivisimo and others compete.
Google Site Search caters to all Web site content as search results with the aim of offering relevant and comprehensive coverage of a Web site. Google does this by developing special indexes that supplement pages already searched by Google.com.
“Customers today demand speed. Waiting around is so, well, yesterday — as so many of the things we used to have to wait for are now at our fingertips online,” said a blog posting by Google’s Nitin Mangtani and Tom Duerig. “For a business running their own Web site, this means that visitors who turn to search expect to have access to the newest products, pages and an announcement a site has to offer.”
Additionally, Google also offers search appliances that businesses may run on their own premises should they require more control and security.
On-demand Indexing is like a super-charge for the Google Site Search product that says “index my Web site now.” I might be adding or launching a new product, updating a Web site, I want to make sure that visitors who come to our Web site, they can find the most updated and freshest content.
Although Google is pretty well recognized for its free consumer search, which is supported by advertising revenue, the company has been producing more services that make money by licensing search technology or services to client websites.
In the past, an automated Google Site Search system “crawled and indexed” the client website’s pages from time to time. But this offered no guarantee of being the latest; the new on-demand indexing feature gives control to the website owner.
Site Search’s On-Demand Indexing will go live on Thursday. On-Demand Indexing works quietly in the background. In their Site Search control panel, Web publishers will see a new button labeled “index now” that, when clicked on, will activate this new feature. New pages are largely searchable within hours; Google says the pages will take no longer than a day to appear within site search results.
On-Demand Indexing should come in handy when a site has been redesigned and is being re-launched or when a lot of content has been added to it or changed, Mangtani said.
“We are giving new pages a fast-pass, so they can be quickly indexed and get through our indexing pipeline right away,” he said.
Google licenses the Site Search service to website owners at an annual $100 for Web sites of up to 5,000 pages and includes up to 250,000 search queries per year. A $500 second tier exists for sites with 5,001 to 50,000 pages and also limits queries to 250,000 per year. Google executives said they do not break out charges to major site owners whose sites have over 300,000 pages.
Web publishers with larger sites need to contact Google for pricing. Currently, thousands of businesses use Site Search, including Adobe and Con Edison, according to Mangtani.
A less sophisticated Web hosted site search service called Custom Search Engine AdSense for Search is free and requires Web publishers to carry Google ads.
The enhancement in delivering fresh content is part of Google’s master plan to closely replicate the speed, breadth and depth users experience with consumer search on enterprise search.
“The enterprise is unquestionably a place Google wants to play. It is also a place where Google has to prove itself first,” said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.
“For smaller sites Google will license the service for free if ad query results are included in the results.”
Google still makes the bulk of its revenue from consumer search marketing and advertising, but has been expanding its search services for small to medium sized businesses, as well as for large enterprises.
Besides the site search services, it has also rolled out a software suite of productivity services similar to Microsoft Corp.’s Office suite, which it calls Google Apps. The suite features documents, calendar and presentation applications. The consumer version of Google Apps is free, but the company charges organizations a fee to license for a professional service.