Saturday, March 01, 2008

Google Sites

The buzz has been pretty big about Google Sites, so I had to check it out. It's amazing that Google has lasted this long without having a wiki. I always considered Google Docs to be similar to wikis, yet with limited editors.

So, I went there. I wasn't sure what Google Apps was. I vaguely remember hearing about this service in the past, but being very uninterested in it. It is an enterprise system that requires you to belong to an organization that participates in this or that you have a domain that can be associated with this. I actually started to set this up on my domain, but it seems that I have to change my DNS settings, which I really didn't want to do.

Then I realized that Indiana University was probably set up to do this, so I used my IU email to setup an account. Then I saw that 73 others were signed up along with their email accounts (thanks Google, but please don't post those). There was no other way to contact them. I would have assumed that a page like that would have links to their spaces.

So, then I finally set up a "site" (wiki). The templates are terrible, but you can do a significant amount of editing of the template (no CSS access :( The interface design is pretty good. The editing options are much better than Wikispaces (sorry guys, I still love you) or any other wiki that I've used. This is a multi-billion dollar corporation going after a traditionally touchy-feely market and they are going to kill (in the future).

Why do I say "in the future"? Because there is a major flaw in Sites right now. Only folks in my network can edit. In a world where things are becoming more and more open, why would Google (GOOGLE!) play with walled gardens? It just blows me away. Everyone can see the site (Here is mine -- Seoul Daddy), but the most open option that I can choose is "everyone at Indiana University" for the editors setting.

That being said, this might be a welcomed addition to K-12 teachers who are required more and more to have these walled gardens. This makes it really, really easy to do.


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