The Google Search Appliance is fading away, but enterprise search, which lets employees find the internal documents or mail they’re looking for, will live on.
In February, Google (googl) told partners it was discontinuing its search appliance, the company’s first business-focused product launched in 2002. Customers could keep updating the GSA for three years, but then—see ya later.
This news hit several appliance-focused Google for Work partners like a ton of bricks. Chicago-based MC+A, an early Google for Work partner, is now being acquired by Yippy, an enterprise search specialist based in Fort Myers, Fla. Terms were not disclosed. (Update: The deal fell apart in November.)
Yippy said in its statement that this deal will help the combined company attack what it estimates to be the $500 million opportunity in business-focused search.
The company now plans to offer GSA customers its own Blue Flame appliance. Customers will be able to search their internal files easily from a dashboard and, importantly, users will only get results that they have corporate access to see. That means an admin can’t access files meant for the eyes of the chief financial officer, for example.
“Google’s decision to focus its attention on cloud-based solutions has created an opportunity for Yippy to bridge the gap between appliance and cloud,” Yippy chief executive Richard Granville said in a statement. “The market for cloud-based platforms is still in its infancy and we believe the search appliance will remain a viable solution for the next decade.”
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MC+A will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Yippy, led by MC+A founder Michael Cizmar.
To be fair, Google has said it’s working on a cloud-based enterprise search alternative, that was in limited use early this year. Several other companies, including Mindbreeze and Thunderstone, offer their own search appliances. Others in the enterprise search market include Lucidworks and Searchblox.
Historically, other, bigger vendors also attacked this enterprise search opportunity. For example, Microsoft (msft) bought Fast Search in 2008 and incorporated that search technology into SharePoint. And, lest we forget (and really, how could we?), Hewlett-Packard bought Autonomy, which offered its own enterprise search capability, in 2011.
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Google Search Appliance was a great idea for companies that deploy a welter of different applications, so important data can be scattered about in different file systems and repositories. It also gave Google a toehold in corporate server rooms, which is why some wondered why Google would cut the product at a time when it’s trying to sell more cloud services to these very companies.
It also needs to show that it “gets” that customers need to run some of their information technology in-house. Diane Greene, the former VMware (vmw)chief executive has been spearheading Google’s enterprise efforts since late last year.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated to show that Yippy’s intended acquisition of MC+A fell through.