The new Google Search Appliance integrates Google's OneBox technology that will allows enterprise business users to search across their business applications, such as SAS, SalesForce.com, Cognos, and Exchange. I can't say that I saw this one coming!
You can read the official Google blog release here.
As I first read of the new OneBox features, my initial impression was that Google was venturing into Business Intelligence, offering a single-point-of-access to operational data and business analytics. But I quickly realized that this is not the case. This is not so much a business intelligence solution as it is an overlay, or a business information presentation layer. This is a form of data integration at the presentation level.
The potential of this offering is incredible. Partnering with SAS, Oracle, SalesForce.com and others positions OneBox as a technology that will be vital for any company running these softwares (which is almost every medium-sized to large company). And considering that the licensing cost is only $30K, that will be seen as a small additional cost to the hundreds of thousands invested in the current technology. This is a small price to pay to maximize use of existing software through a unified and easy to acces information portal.