Google to sell search tools to small business websites

The move is the latest sign that the search giant is gearing up for a full assault on Microsoft's lucrative applications business.

The service, which is free from Google ads or branding, costs $100 per year for sites with up to 5,000 pages and $500 for sites with up to 50,000 pages. The service, called the Google Custom Search Business Edition, is a paid-for version of the free service launched last year, which required that Google ads be displayed on the site.

'While many of these businesses invest in search advertising and search engine optimisation to help customers find their business, customers are left on their own to navigate content once they land on a site,' said Google VP Dave Girouard. 'As Google continues to make search technology more accessible to businesses of all sizes - first with our appliances and now with hosted search services - we are reducing the hurdles of cost, complexity and time so that small businesses can help customers find what they need every step of the way.'

Google's move into selling services to the small and medium-sized businesses follows its earlier offerings like Docs and Spreadsheets, which may ultimately expand into a fully fledged and OS-neutral alternative to Microsoft Office.

On 9 July, Google also announced the $625 million acquisition of Postini, a developer of email security services, which is already popular with businesses. This follows Google's acquistions earlier this year of Tonic Systems and Zenter, two companies whose technology will almost certainly be combined to produce a competitor to PowerPoint.

According to BusinessWeek, there are already 100,000 businesses using Google's productivity tools and even some corporates are trying them out. Any breakdown of the Microsoft Windows/Office hold on the corporate sector could open doors for the Mac.

Source:   www.macuser.co.uk - News

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