Getting the Most from Your Google Search Appliance

Getting Started

The Google Search Appliance enables you to provide universal search to your users. You can get the most from your Google Search Appliance by using some or all of its many features to fine-tune and enhance universal search. Become familiar with the Google Search Appliance’s features by reading this document and apply those features that best suit your search solution.

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About This Document

This document provides an overview of the Google Search Appliance features that you can use to offer universal search to your users. This document is intended for anyone who is responsible for any of the following tasks:

  • Making the decision to purchase a Google Search Appliance
  • Selecting content sources to be indexed
  • Installing and configuring a Google Search Appliance
  • Creating a search experience for users
  • Administering and maintaining a Google Search Appliance

Using Google Search Appliance Documentation

Google offers a comprehensive library of public documentation about the Google Search Appliance. These documents contain in-depth information about how to use the features and functions described in this document. See the Google Search Appliance help center, for more information.

Read more about the Google Search Appliance features and functions that interest you by clicking the links within this document to navigate to relevant documents in the library of public Google Search Appliance documentation.

For information about specific feature limitations, see Specifications and Usage Limits.

Also, for essential information about deploying a Google Search Appliance, see the Google Search Appliance “Notes from the Field,”

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What Is Universal Search?

Universal search is the ability to search all content in an enterprise through a single search box. Although content sources might reside in different locations, such as on a corporate network, on a desktop, or on the World Wide Web, they appear in a single, integrated set of search results.

The following figure presents a graphical overview of universal search.

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Providing Universal Search with a Google Search Appliance

Your goal is to deliver universal search to your users. The two major aspects of providing universal search with a Google Search Appliance are:

This section provides an overview of each of these aspects.

Crawling and Indexing Content Sources

The Google Search Appliance can crawl and index content from many sources, including:

  • File shares--Files in 220 different formats, such as HTML, PDF, Microsoft Office, and many more
  • Intranets--All files on your intranets or other web servers
  • Content Management Systems--Information in content management systems, with built-in connectivity to EMC Documentum, IBM FileNet, Open Text Livelink, and Microsoft SharePoint
  • Enterprise applications--Information in your business applications, using Google’s OneBox for Enterprise, which enables a search appliance to connect with enterprise applications, such as Customer Relations Management (CRM) systems, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, and financial databases
  • Databases--Records in relational database management systems, including IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, and Sybase
  • World Wide Web--Information on the web

For more information about how the Google Search Appliance crawls and indexes different types of content sources, refer to Crawling and Indexing.

Serving Search Results to Users

When users search for information, the Google Search Appliance returns a single set of search results that are integrated from different types of sources. Results are ranked based on relevancy. The following figure shows a set of search results that are integrated from sources including an intranet, two content management systems, and a file share.

You can effectively provide universal search by just using the Google Search Appliance’s built-in features (see Built-In Search Experience Features). However, the Google Search Appliance provides many capabilities and features that--when used--enable you to enhance universal search and the search experience for your users.

For more information about enhancing the search experience, refer to Using Features to Enhance the Search Experience.

Document Overview

The following table lists the major topics in this document. To read about a specific topic, refer to the section listed in the table.


Described in Section

Planning a universal search solution for your enterprise


Installing a Google Search Appliance and configuring it to communicate with other computers on your network

Setting Up 

Crawling your enterprise content and creating a search index

Crawling and Indexing 

Customizing the way the search appliance presents search and results to users

Search Experience 

Basic features of the Google Search Appliance


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