Shortly after Google acquired YouTube back in 2006, they acquired Jotspot. Jotspot offered their users a place where they could create a structured Wiki that was easily updatable. Once they were acquired, we knew eventually Google would launch something that used Jotspot’s technology. The day has come, and a new service from Google has launched called Google Sites which incorporates elements we saw in Jotspot.

The first thing that you’ll need to know is that this is part of Google Apps which means you need to have a Google Apps account to get started.  An example of where this service will be useful is for those in the education field like teachers to update parents. Of course that’s just one example, and given how easy it is to create a site, it could be useful for just about anyone. Additional examples Google gives include: Company Intranet page, Team Project homepage, Employee Profile, Student Club.

Here are a few additional things you should know about the service:

  • At this point, there are five templates to choose from but more will be available in the future
  • Create pages in just one click
  • Sharing of documents, presentations, videos, photos, calendars and attachments is easy
  • Permission settings are available so you can determine who you want to be viewing the site – it can be private and available to a select group of people, or public and available to the World
  • File cabinet feature gives you the option to upload files. Each file can be up to 10MB in size (in all, you’ll have 10GB of storage space)
  • Google Search built-in so you can search across Google Sites pages
  • Each wiki page has an RSS feed associated to it for easy tracking of changes

Because Google Sites is a free service, it could cut into Microsoft’s earnings on their Sharepoint application. Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch spoke to Google’s director of Enterprise Matthew Glotzbach who even called this product a “Microsoft Sharepoint Killer.” Clearly one of Google’s biggest competitors is Microsoft and it appears as though they’ll do everything they can to cut into Microsoft’s revenue by offering comparable free services.

Below are two example pages that have been created. One thing I did notice is that they used a fluid design so that the window adjusts to your browser, but this causes issues in the formatting if your browser gets too small. They could set a minimum width on the design to prevent the formatting issues from happening, but at this point they haven’t.

google sites 1

google sites 2