Aliya Sternstein, Federal Computer Week, 3 October 2005

Google, developer of the popular Web search engine, is joining forces with federal-sector vendors to extend the company’s reach into the defense and intelligence markets. But some experts say Google’s system for extracting and ranking data is unfit for classified work.

By making use of their partners’ security clearances and government relationships, Google officials hope to place their enterprise products on top-secret government networks. Twelve information technology firms — including LMN Solutions and EagleForce Associates — have already undergone training and paid Google $10,000 in annual fees to collaborate.

But some consultants say Google’s ranking method does not offer anything special in the hunt for enemies.

George Kondrach, executive vice president of information management consulting firm Innodata Isogen, said Google will face challenges in extracting useful data for intelligence analysts, who are looking for "unusual patterns, new patterns, no patterns, changing patterns, intentionally obscured patterns, deep patterns, arcane patterns or convoluted patterns."

Other search gurus add that Google’s expansive listings could actually hamper intelligence research.

"For a CIA analyst, a useful result would be something on the order of a half a dozen or so hits that organize information — for example, reports from classified sources within Iraq, something where I would not be wandering around [looking] for something that is relevant," said private consultant Patrick Durusau, who is chairman of the U.S. advisory group that helped develop an international standard for search navigation. (more)