Today, Google announced the addition of OneBox functionality to their Google Search Appliance. For any of you not regularly dealing with Google’s enterprise offerings, it may be important to know that the Google Search Appliance offers in depth search for secured intranets and corporate databases. The appliance is outfitted with the ability to search hundred of file formats and, most importantly, has built-in security features to make sure that employees only see what THEY have access to. This means that it can also be used as a full-scale public search engine, where public documents are given free access.
Adding OneBox functionality is a big change from the normal corporate portal interface concept. This simply shows that Google is continuing to develop and refine their predictive search pattern technology. That is, their ability to successfully identify what the most relevant document or information by first selecting the most appropriate database to search. In a way, this is what vertical creep is – a way of predicting the type of data the searcher really desired, despite their having not selected a particular search database.
It seems to me that the addition of the OneBox search metaphor to Google’s enterprise offerings demonstrates a growing confidence in Google’s ability to correctly select the appropriate data in a predictive manner.