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May 22, 2008

Google Sites Available Without Google Apps

As promised when the service was launched as part of Google Apps, now you can use Google Sites without having a domain. "A few months ago we launched Google Sites exclusively as part of Google Apps for companies and organizations that wanted to use the service on their own domains. Now we've made it easy for anyone to set up a website to share all types of information -- team projects, company intranets, community groups, classrooms, clubs, family updates, you name it -- in one place, for a few people, a group or the world," says Andrew Zaeske on the Google Blog.


The sites are available at: http://sites.google.com/site/SITENAME and there doesn't seem to be a limit for the number of sites you can create. You can create as many web pages as you like, but each site has a storage quota of only 100 MB.

By default, each site is public, but you can make it private in the settings or when you create it. The same as in Google Docs, you're able to invite people as collaborators or viewers, but a site can have more than one owner.

Google Sites offers the same basic customization options like Blogger (themes, layout editor) and a rich text editor similar to the one from Google Docs, except that you can also embed a small number of whitelisted objects (Google Docs documents, spreadsheets, gadgets, YouTube videos).

In addition to web pages, you can also create simple blogs, lists, file cabinets and iGoogle-like dashboards. Each page can be arranged in a hierarchy and has a revision history that allows you to revert to earlier versions of a page. Google automatically creates a sitemap and can notify you when someone makes changes to the site or to an individual page.

For now, Google Sites looks pretty basic and doesn't include all the powerful features from JotSpot, the service acquired by Google and transformed into Google Sites. But that shouldn't be surprising, if you take into account that all Google services started small and gradually became more powerful and useful. I think the future of Google Sites is to combine Google's collaborative services so you can share more documents in a single page or to create blogs the same way you create calendars, to-do lists and photo galleries.


If you find Google Sites underwhelming, there are a lot of free or paid alternatives, including PBWiki, Wetpaint, Wikia and Wikispaces. There's also a nice video from Common Craft that explains "wikis in plain English":

20 comments:

  1. whats the diferences between page creator and sites?
    tnx

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  2. There are many differences mentioned in the post: edit web pages collaboratively, revision history for each page, hierarchies, attach files to a web page or add comments if you are a collaborator. Google Pages is a simple way to create a site without knowing HTML, while Google Sites lets you collaborate with a group of people and create a site that groups all kinds of content (blogs, collections of files, lists, documents etc.)

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  3. With templates available on the Net and some simple changes to Blogger, I think it's easier to use blogger than these other services. And, you can create sites that don't even look like a blog.

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  4. Including Google office objects like a spreadsheets is pretty underwhelming; it can't be edited even when the editing rights for the object are provided, it can't be searched when you search the site, and to select an object, you can't browse for it but need to copy and paste its URL from another window or tab. Wonder if/ when this improves.

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  5. According to the page where you set up the site the URL ends up being:

    http://sites.google.com/site/sites/xxxxxxxx

    although the naming convention you state in your post makes more sense.

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  6. I'll add the need for from-the-page editable calendars to what Phillip said. For a collaborative site, I think it's a must.

    Does anyone know if the Google sites signed up through a domain has the same 100 MB storage quota?

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  7. I'm surprised the sidebar doesn't let you embed a Google calendar (the way you can on a Blogger page). I tried pasting the embed code in and it just came out as garbage.

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  8. @macbeach:
    Nope. The URL is http://sites.google.com/site/SITENAME/. It's pretty easy to check: http://sites.google.com/site/test/.

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  9. Wish google's blogger would have multiple pages feature, like WordPress; you could make posts and set them as pages by using HTML (CSS also) by editing the template and setting up a navigation menu i guess.

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  10. not terribly compelling. Our page editor at pikiwiki.com or apps.facebook.com/pikipages allows alot more flexibility in how your page looks.

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  11. @Nate:
    There's a strange difference between the stand-alone and the Google Apps version. In the stand-alone version, each site has a 100 MB storage quota. In the free Google Apps version, the storage quota is maintained at the domain level and each domain receives 10 GB of storage.

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  12. The Entire Function Seems a lot like wetpaint wikis or even that of early MSN groups. *sighs* I *heart Google* and will wait it out , Like any small child they tend to grow at an astounding rate.

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  13. Google Sites was recently compared with wikies, but why ?! - there are no wiki-fast linking, simple not-a-wysiwyg editing and so on - it's just a simple site builder...

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  14. "Google Sites was recently compared with wikies".

    Google Sites are actually wikis restricted to a group of collaborators, the same way Google Docs are wikis. When you think about wikis, don't restrict yourself to Wikipedia. Here are some good definitions for wikis:

    * A collection of web pages that can be edited by a group.

    * A Wiki enables documents to be authored collectively in a simple markup language using a web browser. "Wiki" means "super fast" in the Hawaiian language, and it is the speed of creating and updating pages that is one of the defining aspects of wiki technology.

    Google Sites will probably offer an option so that any user can edit the web pages, similar to the recent update for Google Spreadsheets.

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  15. in near future, if we wish to use the site under own domain name after paying the required cost, can it be possible? then.

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  16. Yup. Google Sites is really cool. You can even develop a Issue Tracking Database in it. See:
    http://sites.google.com/site/libertasjustitiaveritas/research-lab-issues-tracker-2
    I plan to use this extensively next semester

    Couple of serious limitations in Google Sites:
    1) Attachments are limited to 10 MB. That is way too low by current standards. Some of the PPTs I create are larger then that.
    2) No support for Flash/Shockwave. That is just silly.

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  17. What happens when you need more than 100MB in storage?

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  18. Does anyone know if the Google sites signed up through a domain has the same 100 MB storage quota?

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  19. Check "Blogger Ionut Alex Chitu said on May 23, 2008 2:10 AM PDT:" for posting on large Google Sites quotas, if that's what you mean by "independent domain".

    Does anyone know how to reduce site quota size? I've maxed out sites, deleted content, and quote stays the same. I've deleted content and copied site w/out revisions, and quote stays the same. Can you delete revision history?

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  20. Google Sites started out as JotSpot, the name and sole product of a software company that offered enterprise social software. It was targeted mainly at small-sized and medium-sized businesses. The company was founded by Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer, co-founders of Excite.

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