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Google Sites is <i>not</i> the big story

Outside of a fanatic few, how many computer users really will give a fig about the revamped JotSpot technology?

The hullaballoo that attends every Google product debut triggers the predictable bloviation fest one normally associates with market-moving news. But much of the commentary about the debut of the revamped JotSpot technology misses the more interesting story.

Sure, the announcement is intriguing. But it's not because we're talking about Jotspot (or Google Sites, as the service was rechristened). I don't want to suck up too much to my cubicle mate Dan Farber (well, maybe just a little), but he's right about this being a show.

Eric Schmidt
Eric Schmidt: Sites today, tomorrow the world?

Outside of a fanatic few, how many computer users really will give a fig about this particular announcement? After all, Google Sites is part of the company's enterprise group and the burden of proof is on management to demonstrate that it knows how to deal with enterprise customers. From his previous tours of duty at Sun Microsystems and Novell, Eric Schmidt doesn't need reminding.

But this is the equivalent of a golfing Mulligan. Even if it fizzles, the company's stock isn't in danger of collapse. More importantly, Sites is yet one more addition to Google's growing arsenal of free applications. And they're getting the hang of this.

From my perspective, the company is doing better than skeptics thought. I've been saving up this quote from a story InformationWeek did on the eve of Google's product rollout. The talking head was Tom Rizzo, a director for Office SharePoint Server at Microsoft.

"The Google solution is what I'd call patchwork, or Frankenstein, software...You have to put it all together yourself."

Precious, but not prescient. For the multitudes--not business--explain again why I should care. Forget the marketing blather. Most regular folks only use a small percentage of the functions Microsoft stuffs into its apps anyway.

A personal aside: When Google began offering apps a couple of years ago and I started to muck around with the offerings on my home PC, I wasn't expecting much. Two years later, the only apps I use at home exist on Google's cloud. Microsoft will have to develop an incredibly "wow" offering--or slash prices--before I again let them charge my credit card for the privilege of owning Microsoft Office.