Comparing OpenSearch and Google Cloud Search

Comparing OpenSearch and Google Cloud Search

Published September 2023

The choice of search platforms can significantly impact business operations. As experts in high-throughput implementations, we’ve witnessed the rise of various search platforms, each with its unique offerings. Today, we’ll explore OpenSearch and Google Cloud Search in depth, drawing parallels and highlighting differences.

Introducing Opensearch & Cloud Search

OpenSearch: A relatively new entrant, OpenSearch was born out of the open source community’s response to Elasticsearch’s licensing changes. It promises transparency, flexibility, and a commitment to open source principles as evidenced by its Apache 2.0 License. You can learn more about the origins of OpenSearch and how it compares to Elasticsearch in this article OpenSearch vs Elasticsearch.

Google Cloud Search: Cloud Search is available through Google Workspace. Cloud Search is optimized for searching through a company’s content, with special emphasis on Google products.  For instance, Gmail, Docs, and Calendar are all seamlessly integrated.

Features of OpenSearch and Cloud Search


  • Scalability. Built on Elasticsearch’s foundation, OpenSearch ensures businesses can scale operations seamlessly. Whether you’re a startup or a large enterprise, OpenSearch can handle your data loads.
  • Plugins. The platform’s extensive plugin system is one of its standout features. From security enhancements to machine learning capabilities, there’s a plugin for almost every need.
  • Security. OpenSearch provides a comprehensive security package with its OpenSearch Security plugin. This plugin comes bundled with the OpenSearch distribution and is free.  It includes a number of features for authentication, access control, and audit/compliance logging.  Additionally, OpenSearch has a second security plugin (also free and open source) called the Security Analytics Plugin.  It’s a security information and event management (SIEM) solution built specifically for OpenSearch.  It can be used to “investigate, detect, analyze, and respond to security threats”.

Google Cloud Search

  • Integration. Its integration with Google Workspace is unparalleled. Businesses can search across various Google services, ensuring a unified and efficient search experience.
  • Machine Learning (ML). Google Cloud Search harnesses Google’s AI capabilities, providing intuitive search results that understand user intent.
  • Data Sources. Beyond Google services, Cloud Search can index data from a plethora of third-party applications, ensuring users don’t have to juggle between platforms.

OpenSearch can also be used for ML.  Users can run and add ML models through their ML Commons. K-Means and Random Cut Forest (RCF) are both supported.

Keep in mind though that currently the ML capabilities of both OpenSearch and Cloud Search are limited.  For any substantial projects it’s better to use tools specifically built for ML, such as TensorFlow or Pytorch.

Managing OpenSearch & Cloud Search


  • Deployment Flexibility. Being open source means businesses can deploy OpenSearch on any infrastructure, including on-prem.
  • Community Support. An active community backs OpenSearch with frequent contributions. This approach allows OpenSearch to efficiently add new features with the help of community members.  Users can submit pull requests, open up new issues, or leave feedback within the OpenSearch GitHub repositories.
  • Managed Service. With OpenSearch you can both own your infrastructure and have it fully managed.  Companies such as Dattell offer fully managed OpenSearch in your environment. Running OpenSearch in your environment ensures greater data security, allows your data infrastructure to run faster, and gives you greater control over your architecture in the short and long-term.

Google Cloud Search

  • Managed Service. Google Cloud Search is fully managed. Google ensures optimal performance, scalability, and maintenance.
  • Data Security. Cloud Search includes advanced security protocols such as group access settings. This setting limits search results to the information that a user explicitly has access to.

Cost Considerations

OpenSearch. OpenSearch is free to download.

Google Cloud Search. Its pricing model is based on user count and required features.

Making the Right Choice

Choosing between OpenSearch and Google Cloud Search isn’t straightforward. Businesses need to evaluate their current needs, future growth plans, budgetary considerations, and technical expertise.

For businesses that prioritize flexibility, customization, and security, OpenSearch is an excellent choice. Its open source nature means businesses aren’t locked into a particular ecosystem and can adapt the platform as they see fit.

One consideration is that OpenSearch is a downloadable software.  This is beneficial because a company using it can own their implementation and retain full control over their data infrastructure.  

On the other hand, businesses looking for a quick, predesigned solution might find Google Cloud Search more to their liking. Especially for those already invested in the Google ecosystem, Cloud Search offers a seamless experience.

Have OpenSearch Questions?

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Dattell - Kafka & Elasticsearch Support

Benefit from the experience of our Kafka, Pulsar, Elasticsearch, and OpenSearch expert services to help your team deploy and maintain high-performance platforms that scale. We support Kafka, Elasticsearch, and OpenSearch both on-prem and in the cloud, whether on stand alone clusters or running within Kubernetes. We’ve saved our clients $100M+ over the past six years. Without our guidance companies tend to overspend on hardware or purchase unnecessary licenses. We typically save clients multiples more money than our fees cost in addition to building, optimizing, and supporting fault-tolerant, highly available architectures.