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Google Joins 'Mini' Mania With Server

January 13, 2005|Chris Gaither | Times Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO — Mini Cooper. Mac mini. Google Mini?

Small is big for marketers these days, even in the less-than-trendy world of corporate computing. Google Inc. today will begin selling a server that promises to help small businesses sift through their data as easily as they can search the Web.

The $5,000 computer is a less powerful version of the Google Search Appliance, which can cost more than 100 times as much. So the Mountain View, Calif., company chose an appropriate moniker: Google Mini.

Google was just the latest to decide that, for style-conscious consumers, less sometimes signals more. BMW recently brought back the Mini Cooper. Mini skirts have returned to fashion runways. Apple Computer Inc. slimmed down its popular music player and called it the iPod mini.

But just before Google planned to roll out its small product, another tech icon evoked mini mania: On Tuesday, Apple unveiled a $499 version of its Macintosh computer: the Mac mini.

"We kind of laughed," said Dave Girouard, general manager of Google's enterprise business unit. "What can you do?"

Google may have more to worry about. Peter Sealey, co- director of UC Berkeley's Center for Marketing & Technology, said small-business owners might not appreciate the diminutive name when they ponder making a $5,000 purchase.

"I'd much rather give it a little more dignity," he said. "The only worse name would have been Google Lite."

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