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Google this week entered the channel with the launch of a partner program to advance Google’s search applications behind the corporate firewall.

Using Google Inc.’s search appliances – Google Mini and Google Search Appliance —12 initial VARs, ISVs and integrators have developed unique solutions designed to deliver Google’s ability to index and retrieve unstructured information (i.e. Word, Excel, e-mail) by keyword from a customer’s backend and improve their ability to store and manage those records.

The Google Enterprise Professional Program offers partners the opportunity to design customized solutions to identify, manage and manipulate that unstructured data.

“If you think about the data some companies and government agencies have amassed, you are talking about the biggest library in the world,” said Stanley Campbell, CEO of EagleForce Associates, McLean, Va., one of Google’s first partners. “You just added a Dewey Decimal System.”

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“This is the intelligence layer that allows you to manage and use all that information company’s have been gathering and storing,” said Bob Fernander, chief executive officer of StoredIQ, Austin, Texas, a storage ISV and another partner.” The database in a typical enterprise occupies 20 percent of a company’s data, the other 80 percent is unstructured —PowerPoint, Word, Excel, e-mail files you have no way of searching. If you don’t know what you have, all you’ve got is a bucket of bits you have to maintain and back up and forget about. If you know what you have you can manage it, you can use it.”

Google, which has been selling the appliances through their Web site for several years, composed the channel program, not necessarily to drive sales and marketing of the company’s product line, but to cultivate development of new solutions, said Matt Glotzbach, Google Product Manager. Google expects increased application of the products will equal increase demand and sales, he said.

“Our goal with the program is to help customers extend our search capability into other areas of their infrastructure. These are things we don’t necessarily have expertise,” Glotzbach said. “It’s more built around the channel’s technology and ability to build capabilities around our product. As companies use them more and more, they have a desire to create their own version, where user can go to search and find data across all of their enterprise.”

The partner program includes training, certification, sales and technical support, which participants have praised and free Google products for development. But sales and marketing support is limited, participants said. The program requires partners meet certain standards, such as field of expertise and a fee $10,000 per year.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company may expand the partner program, if a demand arises, to include additional and future Google products, such as GoogleTalk and GoogleEarth, for integration into customized solutions.

Google and partners expect the current solution offerings to enhance the ability of businesses and government to apply the policies of regulatory compliance laws and protect intellectual property stored amidst the mass of data organizations currently store.

StoerdIQ designed a program using the index capabilities of Google Search Appliance to crawl through unstructured data files to identify and classify records, then take proper action based on regulatory compliance laws and security risks, i.e. save or erase.

Google’s presence in the market provides an additional advantage in designing a user friendly solution, Campbell said.

“Googling is now a normal, common practice everyday in the confines of every business,” he said. “When we look at ability to corral that information within enterprise itself and organize it through Google in a way people can understand, it makes it much easier to use.”

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EagleForce designed a solution for businesses and government agencies (namely the Pentagon) to cross correlate data from structured and unstructured data files to identify links and create different classifications for easier management by end-users.
Google has taken steps this year to move beyond its identity as the Web’s premier search engine. The company has added software utilities GoogleTalk (instant messaging), Google Desktop Enterprise (a PC search) and Google Earth (global satellite imagery search).