Google Pages Released

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google page creator logo

Although there has been no official announcement yet Google have released the long awaited and long-rumored Google Pages (which has nothing to do with cloning Larry Page). Pages allows users to create a webpage using an AJAX interface that removes a lot of the ‘pain’ associated with creating pages with HTML and other desktop design applications. If you have some time on your hands and would like to try this out, then head over to http://pages.google.com to signup. If you have an existing Google account (they snuck that on us, didn’t they) then getting a pages account is very simple.

Once you are in the application you are presented with a WYSIWYG interface displaying your page and some editing controls. The interface in terms of what they have done with client-side Javascript is impressive, and what Google has done in terms of putting up simple pages is cool but overall it is an underwhelming gimmick that may have some potential if they focus. Google Pages allows you to upload files, create many pages that you can link up, and select from a smorgasbord of templates. The website which you can then push out to publish can then be found at username.googlepages.com.

I went through and created my own page which can be found at http://cubrilovic.googlepages.com. The retro look demonstrates the problem with giving your content creators too much control and not wrapping them up more tightly into a nice template. The way it usually works with real website design is that the design wraps the content creator up completely simply so they don’t mess things up – only because we aren’t all creative types. Google Pages does let you upload any file though, and gives you 100MB of space, which some may find more useful for sharing files or distributing SNL video’s.

For instance, this is not going to be a threat to the younger crowd who are all creating pages on MySpace, nor to the audience of millions of bloggers who already have their online presence, nor to the players in the CMS space who offer a whole lot more in functionality and power. I am not sure who this is targeted at as the small business owners and non technical folk sure aren’t looking at Google for a website solution and considering there is no domain mapping at the moment being a business and handing out a googlepages.com domain is just, well, embarrassing.

I don’t think we will see a huge swell in the number of serious websites hosted on pages, but this may be a step towards a CMS suite for small businesses that would include some form of super-blogger, along with free domain registration or some of the other features that Office Live will be offering. I just can’t help thinking that this product feels unfocused and underdeveloped – especially coming from a company such as Google.

Update: A few minutes after I posted this Google took the site down. I hope I didn’t lose all my work.

screenshot google pages

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