Friday, February 29, 2008

Google Makes Websites; Is There Anything Google Can't Do?

Google is best known for its search engine technology, which lets you find out anything about pretty much, well, anything with the click of a mouse. But the company has ventured into other areas over the years: cool Earth maps; e-mail via Gmail; documents; blogging software (like this one!); photo sharing via Picasa; videos via its purchase of YouTube; and now even mobile phone technology through a new mobile application platform called Android. Now, the company is taking a stab at creating Websites that users can easily edit, search, and maintain in small groups, or even through large corporations. Is there anything Google can't or won't do? And what's more, how on earth does the company continue to be able to offer such services for free?

Is Google just trying to get us all to use its applications, only to tack hefty fees onto them once they've convinced us that they're worthwhile? Or is this just an indication of the direction the technology industry is headed as a whole, with Google heading the apprehensive pack? Hmm...

Google is certainly attempting to take a huge chunk of business away from Microsoft, which offers many similar services (Hotmail, Word, Windows Media Player, and so forth). In turn, Microsoft is making moves to gobble up what it can as well (e.g. Yahoo!) to better compete against the search engine/Web behemoth. Either way, is it good for one company to have such power over the Web and your computer activities? Something to think about...

But back to Google's new Web technology, which is aptly named Google Sites. The application would make it easy to instantly update content to a Google-created Website, like adding study notes for a class project; calendar information for a group; and yes, even YouTube videos. And, of course, searching within the site is powered by none other than Google Search. Three versions are available: the basic Standard edition, which is free; and Education (free) and Premier ($50/yr. for each user account) editions, which add tons of functionality, including source code to integrate with your existing structure; third-party applications and services; and, in the Premier edition, a larger storage capacity for e-mail.

"We are literally adding an edit button to the web," said Google's Vice President and General Manager of Enterprise, Dave Girouard. "Creating a team Website has always been too complicated, requiring dedicated hardware and software as well as programming skills. Now with Google Sites, anyone can create an entirely customized site in minutes, and invite others to contribute."

Sure, this service might not necessarily be the way to go for big businesses, but for a school course, personal Website, or even temporary promotional Websites, Google Sites might just satisfy some cravings.

I have to give Google credit for building its massive empire, and creating products that are not only helpful and easy to use, but also in many cases, very affordable. Google is quite obviously a force to be reckoned with when it comes to anything and everything to do with the Web.

1 comment:

Alex balanovic said...

Interesting,i bet a lot of people will be googeling "free website"
after they read this articale.