Google Sites Now Live To Collaborate

[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