Google is firing back at enterprise search vendor Autonomy, saying the company recently distributed a white paper that contains "significant inaccuracies" about Google's Search Appliance.

The white paper, according to Google, states that Search Appliance "does not index all your critical content."

"On the contrary, the Google Search Appliance was designed to search all critical content in the enterprise, including file shares, intranets, databases, and real-time business data - all from one simple search box," wrote Nitin Mangtani, lead product manager, enterprise search, on an official blog. Mangtani added that Google has also supplied connectors to products like SharePoint and Documentum, and an open-source content connector framework.

The white paper does not appear to be available on Autonomy's website, nor is it provided through Google's blog post. Autonomy could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

Autonomy's document also claimed Search Appliance lacks enterprise-level security, according to Mangtani. It in fact supports a number of security access control systems and also allows security settings at the document level, he said. The latter "ensures that end-users see only those documents in the results list to which they have access," according to Mangtani.

In addition, the white paper noted that the search appliance's "capabilities are still being honed," Mangtani wrote.

"This is certainly true: We are constantly working to improve the appliance, to make sure it offers ever increasing relevancy out of the box," he acknowledged.

However, he added, "The fact is that we employ thousands of engineers focused on search relevancy and quality. In the last three months alone, seven new Google Enterprise Labs experiments have been launched (by Google, not third parties as Autonomy claimed), to enhance the enterprise search experience."

Meanwhile, a report released in December by the analyst firm CMS Watch also said the company's technology has certain shortcomings, among them a lack of "advanced tuning controls found in most other enterprise search products."

This is the second time Google's search team has responded to an Autonomy white paper, and overall the exchange is reflective of the tightening market for enterprise search.

Microsoft's bid this month to buy Fast Search and Transfer (FAST), a key competitor of Autonomy, was seen by some observers as a validation of the market.

Autonomy, based in England and San Francisco, is one of the larger independent players in enterprise search. Fourth-quarter revenue released this week stood at $115 million, up 57 percent over the same period in 2006, it said. Adjusted net profits in the fourth quarter were $28.5 million, up from $18.4 million in 2006.