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In <i>Search</i> Of Innovation

For years, we've seen far too little in the way of innovative enterprise applications or major hardware and networking advances. Arguably, more innovation is taking place in the consumer space, although much of that is incremental rather than revolutionary. There's more evidence this week that innovation in the IT industry is now being driven from the search engine outward, both for consumer and business applications.
For years, we've seen far too little in the way of innovative enterprise applications or major hardware and networking advances. Arguably, more innovation is taking place in the consumer space, although much of that is incremental rather than revolutionary. There's more evidence this week that innovation in the IT industry is now being driven from the search engine outward, both for consumer and business applications.One of the more novel applications of search is in experimental mode at Microsoft. The technology would make it possible to take a picture of an object with a camera phone, then use that image to search a Web-based database for more information. A user could take a picture of a product in a store, then conduct a price comparison on the spot.

Though this could be a bad thing for compulsive shoppers, it sure would beat typing in Froogle queries from the phone or, worse yet, writing down the product specifications, taking them home, then going online and conducting your analysis. The technology is a long way from commercial availability, and Google no doubt has something similar or competitive in the works, but it's encouraging to see Microsoft--a search market share laggard--pushing the envelope with new technology and features in this space.

On the corporate and enterprise applications front, Google is stepping in where those companies that house reams of corporate data probably should have years ago, helping frustrated business users find information in transactional and other systems with technology called Google OneBox for Enterprise. Google officials cite at least two compelling examples of partners whose data they'll be able to search: Oracle and Cisco. A business user could view financial data in Oracle Financials through a query entered into the Google search box. A user of Cisco's MeetingPlace Express conferencing system could access information from the conferencing system, such as contact and presence information.

These are just two of the latest examples of the big search engine providers filling the innovation void, expanding their footprints to become the ultimate interface to information and, now, the ultimate data query and access tools. Will your company look to Google's OneBox to facilitate data access? What are the drawbacks to using Google technology in this way?