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Google Sites Now Live To Collaborate

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[qi:012] Google acquired JotSpot eons ago, so long ago that one almost forgets about the wiki company and its founder, Joe Krause. Apparently Google didn’t let it go to waste. It is now the underpinning of Google Sites, a web-based collaboration software service that is going to be part of the Google Apps and will be available later on Thursday.

It is a simple and easy way to build a web site where you can share information with your team, including files, calendars and presentations. You can put content from other Google products, including YouTube, Google Calendar and Picasa. Google hopes that small business, wide-spread teams, classrooms and even political organizations would use this new offering in tandem with its current Google App offerings.

google_sites_intranet_page.gifGoogle is not the first one to make a collaboration available — 37Signals’ Basecamp, Microsoft ‘s Office Live WorkSpace, Zoho and GoPlan come to mind — but it has come up a pretty compelling offering that is going to challenge competitors.

“Creating a team web site has always been too complicated, requiring dedicated hardware and software as well as programming skills,” said Dave Girouard, vice president and general manager of enterprise, Google.

I was pleasantly surprised by new offerings’ ease of use. Sure, some power users are going to be disappointed but I suspect a majority will find its simplicity appealing. Moreover, it is tightly integrated with Google Apps, which would make its adoption easier, just like Google Docs and Google Talk.

google_sites_employee_profile.gifI bet like me, no one wants to deal with another wiki. Funny how Google is taking a page out of Microsoft’s playbook, and offering an “integrated suite.”

WebWorkerDaily, which follows collaboration software quite closely had outlined similar approach.

Take GMail, GCal, plus Google Docs & Spreadsheets and you could manage a project reasonably well…If you wanted dashboard or notification-type features, you’d probably have to custom-build them yourself, though, and that’s a serious undertaking.

Looks like Google fixed that problem. My initial enthusiasm aside, I am still withholding final judgement on this product for now. Like most Google apps, the limitations become obvious after one has had a week or two and real-work situations to put the service through, a case in point being the marginal IMAP experience on GMail.

Related Post: An in-depth review of Google Sites over on WebWorkerDaily

7 Responses to “Google Sites Now Live To Collaborate”

  1. Braiton Trims

    First of all, I don’t think that the word “sites” is the best one here. Everybody knows what a wiki is, and Google will just confuse their future customers. Well, and I still think that a system needs to be more structured and needs more features. Communication via wiki is great, cause a wiki is really easy to use, but how will you track what you are doing. For my team, it’s more convenient to use tools like They have stuff like Gantt charts and reports.

  2. “Google hopes that small business, wide spread teams, classrooms and even political organizations would use this new offering”

    No doubt wiki’s can have some degree of usefulness in a business, but I question if this will gain widespread acceptance. For my business, I prefer the structure of “premium” services like OnStage Portal or 37signals or whatever. Everything was built to work together for the purpose of running business. It is not a collection of otherwise separate applications (although don’t get me wrong, google docs, sheets, etc. do work very well together).

    All to say… I’m not sold yet either.

  3. Google Gets Into Web Sites Building Biz : Google Branching Out With New Tools for Setting Up Web Sites

    Any Internet company that gets into web hosting and website building biz means they are DOOMED, companies do this when their primary business model fails. Look forward to spectacular crash……..

    A banner advertisement is much more visible than a text link advertisement if that did not work, how can we expect the text link advertisement will work? Most text link ads clicks are accidental clicks by dumb users who think it is a site link, these dumb people don’t buy much stuff online this is simple reality.

    The banner advertisement hype lasted about 3 years how many years do you think text link hype will last?

    Channel advertisement model does not work on WWW simply because nobody owns WWW and minimum qualification to collect rent on a channel is ownership of the channel…….

  4. Hey Om, I already posted some reactions (as a PBwiki investor and executive) over at WWD:

    Basically, I think Google’s re-entry into the marketplace should be a positive for the space as a whole. Clearly it reignites some of the excitement in the wiki space (though notice how careful Google Sites is not to use the word “wiki” anywhere!), and adds another big player to the on-premise/on-demand battle between SaaS companies like PBwiki and the Microsoft behemoth and SharePoint.

    One thing I should note is that PBwiki has had calendar and spreadsheet integration for a while…users can embed things like Google Calendar and Google Docs just like with any other HTML page, and we’ve also built in one-click plugins from 30Boxes and other Web 2.0 companies.

    Even if it turns out that users discover unforseen limitations with Google Sites, and the product ends up focusing on the low end of the market, that can still drive revenues for premium providers like 37Signals and yes, dare I say, PBwiki.

    Feel free to drop me a line if you need any more reactions or quotes.