Google seeks to expand enterprise product lineup

Expect Google Inc. to increase its family of enterprise products in the coming 12 months by retooling some of its existing services aimed at individual users in the mass market, a Google executive said.

“We think there are other Google products that make sense in the enterprise,” said Dave Girouard, general manager of Google’s enterprise business unit. “There are all sorts of candies in the shop.”

Although no final decision has been made on which existing services will be adapted for an enterprise setting, those under consideration include the popular Web logging service Blogger, Girouard said.

“It could make sense. We’ve certainly had a lot of people express an interest in that and talking to us about it,” Girouard said. “We’re investigating it. We don’t have anything to announce. But it’s certainly a possibility.”

Google’s enterprise unit, which is focused on selling products to organizations in the private sector and in the government, currently has three products in its portfolio, all derived from services that the Mountain View, California, company first offered to individual Internet users.

The unit’s first product, the Google Search Appliance, and a subsequent simpler and less expensive version of it called the Google Mini, both use the core technology that powers the company’s search engine. The Search Appliance and the Mini are hardware boxes loaded with Google search software that organizations use to index and make searchable information stored in servers.

Meanwhile, Google Desktop Search for Enterprise is a software application for indexing and making searchable the contents of PC hard drives, and it is based on a version for consumers Google had released months earlier. This is the model the enterprise unit will continue to follow: Instead of building products from scratch exclusively for enterprise use, it will adapt existing Google services whose value has been tested in the mass market, Girouard said.

“We don’t want to be cavalier about it. We like to see the products get to a level of maturity and think through carefully if there’s some value Google can add in the enterprise with those products,” Girouard said.

Most of Google’s revenue comes from selling advertising that is tied to its search engine services for the mass market. But the enterprise unit, while comparatively small, is seeing strong revenue growth and profitability, he said.

On Thursday, Google launched a program to recruit partners, such as consultants and independent software vendors, whose services and products can complement and extend the functionality of its enterprise products.

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