Interesting - yesterday, I got an invitation to the new google pages beta and have been playing with the product for a bit.
Then, I jumped on Technorati and saw a plethora of posts from Matthew Gifford, Download Squad (complaining about the shut down of access/signups), Tech Heads, Business That Works, ValleyWag (rating it a "meh") -all commenting on another new service from google.
Myself, I tried it at sdickert.googlepages.com - which is quite intriguing after using various wiki tools (from companies like SocialText, SeedWiki, PBWiki and others). Additionally, other friends have already created/used services like Flock, and online word processor for blogs, RocketPost).
In general, I enjoyed using the google service for its ease of use. Heck, I was moving images around (no more remembering those silly "align=left" attributes) and the fonts are all web based and web friendly. The templates are incredibly easy to use - and the layout structure is intuative and consistent (especially if you are a fan of good user interface design).
So, why launch something like this? Well - it could be seen as a new word processor (as warned by Matthew) or a new wiki service or maybe just a new, easy to use content generator for "regular users". Riding on two other threads I have discussed - could it be:
- google is leveraging its newly created infrastructure to allow for web-based services to proliforate across the google platform. Remember, it is building the largest digital infrastructure in the world (consider its purchase of fiber and hosting locations throughout the world). In the British press, the Times Online comments on google's hiring plans for "Strategic Negotiator". In blogs, people are speculating on the need including Robert Crigley's "i, Crigley", infoWorld, and others.
- google is trying to make it the premiere services destination - why not have all services come to the center. If you truly deliver on Netscape's promise of disintermediating the operatin system through the browser - then we are truly on the verge of a "thin client" - with google holding all of the cards of the services.
The future for google
Well, let us see:
- google is buying up infrastructure right and left ("Strategic Negotiator" has been out for a while now - and their team continues to grow)
- google has the largest computing infrastructure on the planet today (look at the work on google archives and their use of Plan9, the operating system)
- google's DNA is about offering services that feedback to their core competancy - providing web services
- users primarily use computers for word-processing (pages, blogger), email communications (Gmail), instant messaging (google Talk, Chat), calendaring (google Calendar is not out, but the sub-domain is active), downloadable music (rumors of google buying Napster) and photo management (google's Picassa). All that is left is business productivity apps (like Excel and PowerPoint) and graphic management tools (like Photoshop).
Tags: google pages, google infrastructure, strategic negotiator, google PC