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July 29, 2007

Google's Intranet Search Engine

Google Enterprise Blog shows a screenshot of MOMA Next, an experimental front-end for Google's intranet search. Google uses its own search appliance to index more than 100 million internal documents.

The familiar interface gives Google employees easy access to all kinds of data: contacts, shared bookmarks, refinements. Unfortunately, the design is kind of cluttered and the search takes a lot of time.

MOMA is the name of Google's intranet. An ex-Googler tells its story:

"MOMA was designed by and for engineers and for the first couple of years, its home page was devoid of any aesthetic enhancements that didn't serve to provide information essential to the operation of Google. It was dense and messy and full of numbers that were hard to parse for the uninitiated, but high in nutritional value for the data hungry. MOMA displayed latency times, popular search terms, traffic stats for Google-owned properties and, at the center of it all, a large graph with colored lines labeled with the names of Muppet characters. (...)

I came to take it for granted that any information I needed about Google could be found on the intranet, from the status of products in development to the number of employees at any point in the company's history. (...)

Google eventually clamped down on who had access the complete state of the business; ostensibly because such information needed to be restricted unless everyone was going to be registered as an insider and restricted from freely buying and selling the company's stock."

Here's another screenshot from a MOMA search for Googlers (credit: The Back Pack Zac Attak).

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