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Google Sites: What's all the fuss?

The critics weigh in on whether it's a Microsoft SharePoint killer or merely the McDonald's of wikis.

The launch of Google Sites is like the opening of a movie or play. The critics (including myself) feast on it, churning out copy and opinions as to whether Google Sites is a Microsoft SharePoint killer or merely the McDonald's of wikis, with more nutritional value than the venerable fast food burger and no cost.

Dennis Howlett wasn't impressed. On his ZDNet blog he wrote:

After 16 months at Google developer's hands, the outcome is substandard. This is such a pity. In its JotSpot incarnation, it was far from perfect but that didn't matter because JotSpot was shedding light on a new way of collaborating. Since passing into Google's hands, the guts have been ripped out and then re-assembled with as much Google 'stuff' as they could cram in but rushed to completion.
At the very least, Google should get rid of the gadgets addition facility and rework it. Otherwise, I sense the SMBs at which it is aimed will find the service a turn off.

I'm don't think the guts were ripped out, but JotSpot was given the Google makeover, which is rooted in the way founders Brin and Page think about Web applications. Like Google search, the interface is extremely simple. No boiling the ocean with features no one can comprehend. Dennis pointed to slowness in integrating Google gadgets in Sites and a lack of business-oriented widgets. Maybe Google should have added "beta" to the Sites label. Gmail is still in beta after several years of gestation.

Zoli Erdos sums it up well:

Google now has a pretty good and easy web-page creator with some wiki features made user-friendly, and a half-hearted attempt at integrating the rest of the Apps empire using Sites. Perhaps they get it right in the next release.

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