Google Unveils AI-Powered Springboard Search Engine for Enterprises
As the amount of information available to the average enterprise continues expanding rapidly, Google wants to make it easier for professionals to find exactly what they're looking for quickly. That's why the tech giant has launched Springboard, a new machine intelligence-powered search engine for enterprise users.
Unveiled yesterday at the Google Atmosphere Tokyo event for enterprise users, the Google Springboard cloud service allows users to rapidly search across all the information their companies have stored in Google Apps such as Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar and Contacts. It also provides proactive recommendations and information to act on throughout the day.
Already being tested with a small number of Google customers, Springboard is now being offered to a few more users through an early adopter program. Google is also kicking off a similar program for its updated Google Sites tool that lets users create Web pages for sharing information with others across the enterprise.
Information Searches Taking Up Time
"It's no secret that the growth of information inside the enterprise continues to accelerate," Google Apps vice president of engineering Prabhakar Raghavan wrote yesterday in a post on the Google for Work blog. "In fact, today the average knowledge worker spends the equivalent of one full day a week searching for and gathering information."
That figure comes from a 2012 study from McKinsey & Co. on the use of social technologies to improve workplace productivity. Based on data from IDC, that research found that employees typically spend 19 percent of their time every week searching for and collecting information.
Several observers have noted that Springboard and Sites offer capabilities similar to those provided by Microsoft's SharePoint, a cloud-based service that lets enterprises store and organize information and share it across multiple devices. Google is also reportedly looking at eventually connecting Springboard to other services beyond its own in the future, according to a report today in Computerworld.
'A Lot More in Store'
Google is also updating its Sites offering, which Raghavan said is "one of the most popular products among our enterprise customers," to make it easier for professionals to share information with work colleagues.
The "totally rebuilt" Sites provides a drag-and-drop interface that lets users create pages that are optimized for viewing according to the devices being used. Like Google Docs, Sites also supports real-time collaboration among multiple users at once.
"The new Sites also includes themes and layouts designed to scale and flex to any screen size, so they're as useful when you access them on the 30-inch monitor at your desk or your smartphone on your commute," Raghavan said.
The early adopter programs for both Springboard and Sites are open to IT administrators whose enterprises are already running Google Apps for Work, Raghavan noted, adding that Google has a lot more in store for Springboard and Sites.