Google Inc., the most-used Internet search engine, has introduced software that lets business users scour information in programs from companies including Oracle Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., and Salesforce.com Inc.
The software allows company managers to search for information such as sales leads and purchase orders using Google search rather than having to open specialized applications, said Dave Girouard, a Google vice president.
Google is adding the features to boost sales of its Search Appliance, a computer server that scours company databases. The computers cost from $30,000 and last year accounted for 1 percent of Google's $6.14 billion in revenue. The annual market for enterprise search is worth about $350 million, according to market researcher Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn.
''Google is expanding its ability to get into the enterprise," said Whit Andrews, a Gartner research vice president. Many people joining firms today are more familiar with Google than specific applications. ''It's just presumed that everything is searchable," he said.
Google's Search Appliance competes with products from companies including Fast Search & Transfer in Oslo, Norway; Cambridge, England-based Autonomy Corp., and Endeca Technologies Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., Andrews said.
The new features also compete, to a lesser degree, with products from Redwood City, Calif.-based Oracle Corp. and International Business Machines Corp. in Armonk, N.Y.
Google shares rose $6.26, or 1.6 percent, to $410.50 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company's shares have more than doubled in the past year.
The software, called Google OneBox for Enterprise, is modeled after a similar feature on the Google.com site for consumers. Users typing ''weather in San Francisco" or ''movies in New York City" are presented with answers to their queries by Google directly and don't have to click on separate Web pages.
Users of customer management software, for example, will be able to type in a query such as ''Opportunity General Motors" and Google will display the result from the database, Girouard said.
''It makes the Search Appliance more useful," Girouard said. ''Search really is a simple front end to get into these applications."
Corporate users of San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco's MeetingPlace software will be able to access conference call information, while users of software from Oracle will be able to pull up human resources and financial information.
Other companies that will provide links to Google software include Cognos Inc., Employease Inc., NetSuite Inc., and SAS Institute Inc., Google said.
The use of Cognos's search engine will simplify finding corporate information for a broader range of employees, Don Campbell, a vice president of platform strategy and technology at Ottawa-based Cognos, said.
''People are going to be using a tool that is as common as typing in a question in a search engine," Campbell said. ''This will establish more people in getting access to business intelligence."
Google said it will also offer software called an application program interface that will let other companies and independent developers create links between business applications and Google's enterprise search software.