Yesterday Google announced the availability of an easy-to-use Web site publishing tool, called Google Sites. It is meant for businesses to set up and run team collaboration sites and aims to rival Microsoft SharePoint. "We think this is SharePoint-like, but better," said David Girouard, general manager of Google's Enterprise unit.
This service will allow workers to create Intranets, viewable only within their company, without requiring them to have coding or design experience. But unlike SharePoint, which typically requires organizations to buy and maintain their own hardware and software at costs that can run from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars to serve one hundred users, Google Sites is hosted on Google computers and is free to users of Google Apps, which the company offers at a fraction of the cost of Microsoft tools.
Google Sites enables any user invited to join a site to edit pages without requiring knowledge of Web coding or design. Any information published on the site is searched by visitors with permission to use the site, the company said. Further even individual teams members can create profile pages of their activities, interests and schedules. In school settings, Google Sites can function as virtual classrooms for posting homework assignments, class notes or other student resources.
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Google Sites is a scaled back version of JotSpot, an easy-to-edit service for organizations and individuals to set up and edit Web sites that Google had acquired in 2006.