18 January 2008

Google Sites Closer to Launch?

Since October 2006 when Google announced they had acquired Jotspot – the wiki hosting service which allows you to create “rich web-based spreadsheets, calendars, documents and photo galleries” by using their wiki applications – people have been waiting for Google to do something with it.

Just over four months ago, in September 2007, I reported that JotSpot was coming to Google Apps after clues were found for a service called “Google Wiki” in the Google Apps login pages. Soon after that post, all traces of the service disappeared.

Almost two months later, a new subdomain was, similar to the previously referenced subdomain which never worked – adding to the speculation that Jotspot would replace Google Page Creator. By this time, the login pages had resurfaced on Google Apps and the Jotspot login page for had started working; any requests made to were redirecting there too. But for all other domains running on Google Apps, the login page simply displayed “Error” as the service name. *

Shortly after those discoveries, TechCrunch reported on Google’s plans for Google Apps in 2008. In the post, they quoted notes taken by blogger Andrew Miller at a presentation by Googler Scott Johnston, who was the VP of Product Development at Jotspot before it was acquired by Google:

Google Sites: Scheduled to be launched sometime next year (2008), Google Sites will expand upon the Google Page Creator already offered within Apps. Based on JotSpot collaboration tools, Sites will allow business to set up intranets, project management tracking, customer extranets, and any number of custom sites based on multi-user collaboration.

Around the same time, requests to started redirecting to a new URL which included the subdomain instead.

What’s new?

The Google Apps control panel stylesheet now includes styles and an icon () for sites in preparation for displaying the service in Google Apps accounts and the title on the login page has changed from “Error” to “Pages“ – and then finally, in the last 10 days, it’s changed to “Sites”.

We all know how long it can take Google to roll-out new services, but could these final touches mean that Jotspot’s successor Google Sites is slowly getting closer to launch?

* Calls to this page for non-activated services would usually display the service name, whereas a real error would return a “Bad request” error message instead.

Labels: ,