Oh, I know, I’m not big on enterprise search, it puts me to sleep. But to be honest, it was the enterprise that got me into this game, nearly 20 years ago, at a now defunct Macintosh weekly called MacWeek. We covered “MVBs” – Macintosh Volume Buyers, and my best sources were big corporate buyers at Anderson and the University of Texas. These guys saw all the cool shit early, and then blabbed about it to me. Our fearless executive editor was a fellow named Dan Farber, who now runs editorial at ZDNet. Anyway, Dan emailed me yesterday and asked what I thought of enterprise search, which is clearly one of the most overlooked stories in search. (His view on it is now up, here). It made me think, and I realized that in fact, enterprise search will probably rise again, and end up being one of the coolest things in search in the next few years. Why? Because it sucks so badly now, fixing it will be the kind of 10X revelation we had when we moved from Yahoo to Google in 1998-99.
Germane to that, here’s an interview in the E-commerce Times with Google enterprise search chief Dave Girouard that’s interesting.
The funny part is it’s easier to find box scores from the 1957 World Series than it is to find last quarter’s sales presentation in the enterprise. While Web search has gotten really good, enterprise search has stagnated, and that’s why we really believe it’s a problem that needs to be solved and that Google has a unique set of capabilities to solve it.”
When Google goes public, and it seems that this is most certainly a when, rather than an if, it will have to grow. And once it’s hit the plateau of consumer facing businesses, it will turn to the corporate IT market (it’s already focused on the problem and is cranking up that focus). That market is still nascent, and there are buckets of money there (just ask Microsoft or FAST.) Mark my words, boring as it might seem, corporate search will be a big deal. And…there will be interesting implications w/r/t transparency and the like once all those corporate documents are discovered by the internal crawler.