Yeserday Google announced Google Sites, now part of its Google Apps suite. Sites lets people instantly create a wiki-style group workspace for their organization or classroom. According to Google, it could build your organization’s intranet. More likely, however, is using Google Sites for education purposes. What will they think of next? Google’s press release claims,
With Google Sites, people can quickly gather a variety of information in one place including videos, calendars, presentations, attachments, and text and easily share it for viewing or editing with a small group, their entire organization, or the world.
Google Sites has been marketed as a Microsoft Sharepoint killer, but most critics agree it only nominally competes against Sharepoint and IBM’s Lotus Notes. Just what kind of impact Sites may have on them, and when, remains to be answered. The competition certainly has more capabilities than Sites. So, as Mark Twain once remarked, “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,” seem to be true in this case too.
Sites is, essentially, a wiki, but nowhere does Google mention the word in connection with Sites. As ZDNet’s Larry Dignan says,
That observation is keen. Perhaps wiki is too geeky. Perhaps Google thought a name like Google Sites was better than Jotspot. Frankly, none of this rebranding works all that well. It’s still not clear what Google Sites is about judging from its name. Google is trying to mainstream the use of the wiki but without the name. But Google Sites doesn’t exactly bonk you over the head with meaning either.
BoardBuzz thinks Google Sites is a great collaboration application for people who need to manage projects or classroom activities. In other words, it’s wiki-ish. Sites makes it simple for anyone, teachers and students included, to create websites for sharing information, without any specialized knowledge required. It seamlessly integrates with other Google Apps like Talk, Docs, Calendar, etc. “We are literally adding an edit button to the web,” said Dave Girouard, vice president.
Oh, and did we mention that, as is typical of Google Apps, the service is free? BoardBuzz is wishing, right about now, that we had purchased some Google stock years ago.