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January 22, 2007

Building a Site in the Times of Google

It's interesting to see how a company like Google could change the way people create sites.

You don't even need to know HTML or to buy expensive software like Dreamweaver to build a simple site: Google Page Creator can do it. If you have pictures and want to share them with your friends, you don't have to spend hours building a gallery - you have Picasa Web Albums that hosts your photos, creates very nice slideshows and it's easy to set up. You don't have to worry about embedding videos: what format to choose, who will see it, how to balance the stream rate? Google Video, YouTube and many other sites take all the burden.

Blogs give you more freedom of expression and Blogger is the perfect complement for Page Creator. Share the latest news, talk about what's on your mind and get feedback. If you want to expand the discussion from your site, it's not necessary to setup a complicated forum: Google Groups might be all you need. It's easy to manage and it lets you rate posts, upload files and create wikis.

Google Docs & Spreadsheets lets you collaborate with you friends or partners and it's a good way to host documents and spreadsheets. If you write open-source software, Google is nice enough to host all your files and give you access to all their versions.

If your sites grow, Google Search comes to the rescue and lets you create a custom search engine. You can also keep track of your visitors with a professional solution like Google Analytics and monetize your sites using AdSense.

If you happen to have a store, Google can put you on the map, host your database on Google Base, make your merchandises visible in Google Search or in the sponsored links section and process the purchases (for free in 2007).

So it's astonishing to see how many things you can do without paying for hosting or learning to code. Google tries to connect the dots in Apps for Your Domain, by integrating all these services in a meaningful way.

Some will say it's not smart to depend too much on Google, others will want to stand out and build their own custom pieces, but the thing is that it's really easy to create a site and only focus on content.

7 comments:

  1. After reading that I went through my account settings and had a look at my services...

    Google knows where I live.
    I have a Google Account, and Google asks for your address.

    Google has my friends.
    All my email contacts are stored with Google, and I occasionally use Orkut.

    Google has my mail.
    Gmail's my secondary email account (which I use regularly).

    Google has pictures of my house, and my school, and the workplaces and homes of all my friends.
    It's all there in Google Maps/Google Earth. (I know, not directly connected to me but, still there.)

    Google has my computer.
    I search my computer using Google Desktop. Although, I've turned off the advanced features.

    Google has my schedule and birthdays.
    I store my events over at Google Calendar.

    Google has my documents and important files.
    I use Google Docs for important school projects, and send myself files to be stored at Gmail in case of an emergency.

    Google has my history.
    Everything I've searched for for about a year now [or since the service came out], is stored with Google.

    Google has my feeds and my news.
    It's all on my Google Personalised Homepage.

    Google has my website information.
    I use Google analytics.

    Google has my conversations.
    You've guessed it... Google Talk and Google Groups.

    Google [even] has my notes.
    I'm a Google notebook user!

    Google has my website.
    Yep, Google Pages.

    Google has my memories.
    My photos are online with Picasa.

    Google has my thoughts.
    I have a blog, powered by Google's blogger.

    Google has my credit card details.
    My details are stored using Google Checkout.

    I didn't realise I was signed up for so much. I think I signed up for some of them thanks to those little tips that you see about the place. At the bottom of search results there's information on Google Toolbar and Desktop sometimes. Others I've heard about from friends (Docs and Spreadsheets).

    I'm not too sure about one company knowing more about me than my grandmother does (my grandma doesn't know my credit card details), but I'm already locked in now. It's great how I can log on at school and get that essay I've been working on, and get my emails. But, what if Google... well, what if Google did the unthinkable and, did evil?

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  2. I wrote a post about Google Apps for your Domain a week or so ago, pointing out how it could grow to include almost every other Google service.

    But then you went and said what I was getting at just perfectly ;)

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  3. Google is really the best!! I'll try PICASA web albums in a while. :)

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  4. Why did it take so long to invent Google?
    Google came to the internet world so late in the game, and still there are so many basic services available for them to invent.

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  5. I have to agree with Michael (UK).
    Like him, I have all most every service google provides.

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  6. I'm lost - where can I create a google wiki (today)?

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  7. where can I create a google wiki (today)?

    At Google Groups. You can create pages that other members of the group can view and edit. You also have all the previous versions of the page.

    Also if you host a project at Google Code Hosting, you have a wiki.

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