Saying Goodbye to the Google Search Appliance

The commoditization of search engines – driven by open source, Microsoft, and Google themselves – turned the GSA into a mediocre business proposition for Google. The GSA is a tiny rounding error on the financials of what just became the world’s most valuable company.

But for the tens of thousands of enterprises using it, it’s a critical component. Those companies are left in the lurch.

At BA Insight, we’ve created an innovative product offering to help with the situation. We’ve just announced our GSA for SharePoint product. We’ve also introduced a direct replacement program, which solves the tough conundrum GSA owners have, through a product to replace GSA quickly and safely, with freedom to pick different search engines.

We’re continuing to build out our technology for making the search UI independent of the search engine. Support for the multiple search engines –  already covering SharePoint search, Elasticsearch, Office 365 search, cloud hybrid search, and Decisiv search – now includes the GSA. Using BA Insight’s translation across different search APIs, a search page or search application currently using the GSA’s query API can be talking to SharePoint search or Elasticsearch with no change.

Successful search and successful intranets and knowledge portals requires much more than the search engine. The GSA included elements – like connectors and clustering – that aren’t in SharePoint, but we already have these in our product portfolio, which allow us to quickly offer a direct replacement program. The GSA didn’t include some important elements – like document assembly, expertise location, portal analytics, and visual refiners – which we also already have in our portfolio, so GSA customers can go beyond what they have today. And SharePoint includes pre-integrated capabilities that are essential for building and maintaining great portals and intranets.

Google hurt themselves, and the rest of the enterprise search industry, by promulgating the myth that you could just plug in search and walk away. Despite being really good technology, the GSA tended to disappoint customers as a result. Sunsetting the GSA may actually be a blessing in disguise, since migrating off the GSA is an opportunity for companies to do better, both with technology and with practices.

We have designed our products to give companies the flexibility to manage the transition at whatever pace works for them, and the confidence that they can move forward smoothly even if their needs or the vendor landscape changes again.

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