Google Sites

July 23, 2008 in 4 out of 5 stars, A service, Collaboration, Free, Hosted "Office", Hosted software, Issue trackers, Productivity, Project management

What is it?


Google Sites: A poor man's (pretty darn good) intranet. An online, Google-hosted wiki-meets-project management software service. Google gobbled up Jot Spot (a hosted wiki service headed by Joe Kraus) before it even really got going, it was later re-born as Google Sites.

Google_sites

Who makes it?

Google

Why is it the killerest?

I have a growing and widely dispersed team for my latest venture. I've set up a Google Sites website which is serving as an "intranet" for this team, and it's working quite well.

It's like a wiki in that anyone (whom you allow) can edit or add pages or documents. It also has several built-in tools to help you create things like, a file download repository, a todo list, an issue tracker, or an announcements board.

Googlesitesss There are also many more options available through "Gadgets" like a Google Calendar, a Presentation (read: Microsoft Powerpoint-like document), or a Spreadsheet. Plus hundreds of third party gadgets like maps, weather, games, news feeds, and chat. Not to mention a million other useless things no one would ever want (Woody Allen quotes?). Fortunately it's easy to ignore that stuff.

Most anyone can set one up and manage it, it's not difficult, there are no HTML skills required. You have some limited control over the look and feel; for example you can easily brand it with your own logo and colors.

They've made management of the site very simple. You can invite others as owners, collaborators or just viewers. You can also optionally make the site visible to everyone on the internet.

You get 100MB of storage space for free, and can bump that up to 25GB per account for their paid version which costs $50/user/yr.

They even have an API.

What could be improved?

My primary beef is no discussion forum built in. That would make it twice as valuable for us. Even if they just took Google Groups and married it in, we'd have a winner. This is a huge omission.

I would also like the option not to have previous versions of all my pages available to everyone. It's not a huge deal, but I don't need the last umpteen version of a page viewable forever, and there's no facility to disallow this.

How much does it cost?

Free for most everything, $50 per user per year for the deluxe version with lots of storage space.

Rating?

Reviewed by Carson McComas

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I am currently searching for a wiki solution that would be good for a small/medium web development company. Google Site hits close, but the main thing currently missing is permissions. While it has various levels of users, it does not allow to set up which users have access to which section. Even intranets need some basic level of grouping, and I hope that in future Google Sites would include it. Until then I'm off to search for another one.

Posted by: Janis Lanka | Jul 23, 2008 6:05:43 PM

Make sure you look into PBWiki. It's pricey, but I believe it offers those level of permissions. http://pbwiki.com/

Posted by: Carson McComas | Jul 23, 2008 6:35:01 PM

It would be nice to have better templates -- even a simple plain white one would be nice, to start! -- or customizeable CSS.

-- Maria

Posted by: Maria Trombly | Aug 5, 2008 1:34:04 PM

This is a very good introduction of a service provided by google.com. i like this article and used this service thank you sharing

Posted by: web designer Kathaperumal | Oct 2, 2008 11:26:41 AM

I completely agree. It should have a discussion forum built in.

So should 37signals. I don't understand how both of them left it out.

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