This blog hasn’t exactly been gushing about Google’s enterprise solutions–then again, neither have their executives. Still, I thought it fair and balanced to point to an article that Google Enteprise Product Manager Nitin Mangtani wrote in Forbes defending his group’s work.
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This seems to be the core motivation for the entire article:
Our online search experience is relevant to businesses in another important way: Employees today expect the same experience at the office, whether they’re planning meetings, conducting market analysis and delegating assignments, as when they’re at home deciding where to go for dinner or where to take vacation.
Basically, Google says that people want to be able to search enterprise content exactly the same way they search for restaurants. Google says that people want the “same experience”.
Everything else aside, I don’t know if I quite believe that. But I don’t have as much experience in the enterprise space as you do, Daniel. What’s your insight? Do people really use enterprise search in the same manner they do home search?
The second question that arises is, supposing that people really do “Google” in enterprise the same way they “Google” at home, why isn’t Google clustering web results, the same way they are clustering their enterprise results? They made a big deal in the article about the ability in enterprise search to cluster results.
It seems odd to me to claim that people want the “same [search] experience” both at home and in the enterprise, but then turn around and provide a different search experience for enterprise and home users.
Jeremy, there are two different questions here that are subtly conflated: whether users want the same experience at home vs. at the office and whether they have the same kinds of needs.
I think the answer to the first question is a qualified yes: users feel that search at home gives them what they want, and they expect search in the office to do the same. Perhaps this answer oversimplifies the concept of search experience, but this is probably how users perceive it.
But there is no doubt that users have different needs in the office than they do at home. Conducting market analysis, to use Mangtani’s example, isn’t like deciding where to go for dinner.
And, following upon your last point, I agree that user could benefit from more control and a more interactive experience both at home and in the office. Picking a restaurant, in fact, is a use case tailor made for faceted search and other exploratory search techniques.
Personally, I find Mangtani’s article defensive, and I suspect it was at attempt at damage control after Manber’s “rhetorical flourish” about the quality of Google’s in-house search. But I am hardly an impartial observer.