Jan. 18, 2005 -- In the hopes of growing its share of the business market, Google Thursday unveiled an enterprise search tool for small businesses called Google Mini at the same time it announced upgrades to its existing search product for larger enterprises.

Google's full enterprise product now offers search capabilities beyond its standard Web-based tool. In addition to serving up pages on the Internet, the tool can also serve as an in-house search product, helping companies mange their information by combing through complex database servers to locate data quickly. This information is typically accessible through a company's intranet or Web site and can now be indexed by Google Mini for easier access.

The tool is configured to incorporate security and log-in mechanisms within the existing company-wide systems.

The scaled-down version is significantly cheaper than the $32,000 version marketed to large enterprises. It also has a limit to the number of documents it can archive, just 50,000, compared to up to 1.5 million for the large-scale enterprise product.

The Mini is similar to the full search engine, except that it will only be able to search Web-based documents for now, with the broader function rolling out over time. It is available for purchase with a credit card through Google's Web site.

Forrest Research analyst Laura Ramos saw the Google Mini as a smart move. "This very low end of the search market has been very underserved for a long time, and probably the best solutions you could get to date were from hosted providers that charged on a per-page or a monthly fee basis," she told the tech journal Computerworld.