Google Sites €“ Not Your Father's JotSpot


Nearly 18 months ago, Google acquired JotSpot, a commercial wiki company. Then JotSpot disappeared. Now it's back, with the supremely dull name Google Sites (what happened to all those PhDs they employ at Google?). What's interesting is the way that Google is selling its new offering:

Google Sites is the easiest way to make information accessible to people who need quick, up-to-date access. People can work together on a Site to add file attachments, information from other Google applications (like Google Docs, Google Calendar, YouTube and Picasa), and new free-form content. Creating a site together is as easy as editing a document, and you always control who has access, whether it's just yourself, your team, or your whole organization. You can even publish Sites to the world.

It's striking that the word “wiki” isn't mentioned once, as is the fact that the whole thing is being presented as a kind of super-duper easy-peasy Web site creation tool that even idiots like us can use. Google already has its vanilla Web site creation service Google Pages, but it seems to see that as too difficult for the unwashed business masses, and has repurposed JotSpot's wiki in this way.

The other crucial element of Google Sites compared to Google Pages is collaboration. This is already present in a simple way with Google Documents, but thanks to its wiki heritage, Google Sites is obviously built for this from the start. It will be interesting to what, if any, impact this has on Microsoft's super-simple collaboration tool, SharePoint.

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