Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Successfully installed and implemented Google Mini

Google Mini is Google's integrated hardware and software solution to index your organization's digital assets. You can learn more about Google Mini here http://www.google.com/enterprise/mini/.

Earlier our client, was using Microsoft's Index Server to index their digital assets. This index server was shared by several websites and is slowing things a bit. The server, I guess reached its capacity and could not crawl and index any new files added. We were looking at alternative solutions and stumbled upon the Mini.

Google Mini is a powerful search appliance in a blue box of the size of a large Pizza Hut pizza box. It is very easy to set it up and configure. The whole things takes around an hour or so to have the basic search solution up and running. All you have to do, is to tell the Mini what URL paths it has to index and bang, the Mini is on its feet crawling the site.

Things get a little tough and confusing when you start to change the look and feel of the results. To change the look and feel of the search results, we got to modify the style sheet (XSLT) that Google Appliance uses. In that we can configure our own header, menu and footer to integrate the search solution within the corporate website. This might take a while but trust me it is easy if you know how to tweak the XSLT. We can have more than one look and feel( front end) for our search results. Google Mini also lets us define our own collections to have pointed searches. A collection is a set of URL paths.

You can find the solution we implementd here http://search.dcoz.dc.gov/.

Overall, we are extremely satisfied with the end result. The search is very fast and the Return on Investment is huge.

If you have any questions on Google Mini, please leave a comment and I'll be glad to help you out.

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