I may have to eat a little bit of crow here. Recently, I made a point that Google Search Appliance (GSA) wasn’t very innovative, and therefore wasn’t very “Googely”. I still stand by the core of my opinion, which has to do with the way that Google presents search results. Because it can’t leverage the PageRank algorithm that they use on google.com, the search appliance is left to use the same relevance algorithms that other search engines use – noting the frequency and placement of the search term within the document and using that to determine how relevant the document is for the current search.
But there is more innovation in the Google Search Appliance than I thought there was. Dan Burton, a consultant here at Blue Fish, recently wrote an overview of the Google Search Appliance, and I learned a few things I didn’t previously know. One innovative technique they use is called KeyMatch, and it allows certain users to promote or highlight key content for a given search term. Similar to the way that Google Ads work on google.com, KeyMatch lets a user with the right permissions highlight a document, moving it to the top of the search results. If used correctly, KeyMatch can help companies satisfy their user’s most frequent searches by manually placing the most relevant result where they will easily see it. That’s pretty Googley.