June 2006 Archives

Google's Girouard Has High Hopes for Enterprise Search

Girouard provided four statements that he said are guiding Google's enterprise strategy:
  • The first statement is, "focus on the end user and all else will follow." He said that has been one of the company's guiding principles since the company was founded.
  • The second statement is, "simplicity drives adoption." As evidence he pointed to the company's simple search bar which greets the consumer beginning a Google search. That search bar has not changed significantly since 1997, while the underlying technology has changed significantly.
  • The third statement is, "enterprise search will be as impactful as [consumer] search.
  • The fourth statement is, "single sign-on is the bottleneck that needs attention." Girouard noted that single sign-on is a current priority among the Google engineers working on the company's enterprise strategies.

Big statements, all. Certainly there's a lot unsaid here with regard to management and security of the enterprise information unleashed through greater searchability (see statement three). Google merely hints at that with statement four, and I'm sure enterprise IT leaders are keen to hear what exactly Google has in mind to address these concerns.

To pick up a theme I've sounded before, Google's enterprise focus will shift the market on enterprise information infrastructure, and opens up a lot of questions regarding the efforts of other solutions (like enterprise content management) that address this same space.

FCW.com - Stratcom leads DOD cyberdefense efforts

Information sharing and protection is a crucial front in the war on terrorism. Consequently, the Strategic Command (Stratcom) is leading Defense Department efforts to create a virtual environment, including nonstop virtual meetings and blogging so warfighters can disseminate information across locations, commands and rank securely and in real time.

Lt. Gen. Robert Kehler, deputy commander of Stratcom, explained these efforts in a keynote speech at AFCEA International's TechNet International 2006 conference today in Washington, D.C.

"Unfortunately for us, cyberterrorism is cheap, and it's fast," Kehler said. "Today's terrorist moves at the speed of information."

In many ways it would be fair to say that terrorists, using consumer tools and public infrastructure, have better information-sharing and collaboration capabilities available to them than the military. As a consequence, they can potentially innovate more quickly (and at a lower cost).

It's an interesting phenomenon. Clearly the military would like the same breakthroughs in collaboration and sharing that the smallest hostile organizations have achieved but that requires a tremendous reengineering within the DoD. Not necessarily reengineering the technology, but a real rethinking of DoD process.

Naturally, there are a lot of open questions, the most important being whether the DoD can simultaneously serve the goals of security, secrecy, and sharing. Collaboration generates information at a dizzying pace, and the lightweight tools that make for effective collaboration, such as blogs or wikis, don't necessarily provide much in the way of security controls. If one were to start to impose control on the systems, however, it would be easy to accidentally destroy the very simplicity that makes them effective conduits for information from individuals.