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February 23, 2006

New Google free web site service part of retro trend?

Posted by David Hunter at 10:05 AM ET.

Is it nostalgia for the 90′s or am I caught in a time warp? First, Microsoft reintroduces a warmed over bCentral, now Google has resuscitated the “build yourself a free home page service” concept with a spiffy AJAX Page Creator although mercifully without the annoying ads that were the hallmark of such services in the past. Chris Sherman has the details at SearchEngineWatch:

Google Page Creator is a web based application that uses a basic what-you-see is what-you-get style of interface, designed to allow anyone to create and publish web pages, regardless of skill or knowledge level.

Google Page Creator is a web-based application that runs on any computer or operating system. To use it, you must have a Google account and a Gmail address. Pages that you create are stored on Google servers using a URL convention of gmailname.googlepages.com.

Each user is provided with 100 megabytes of free storage space, and while there is a limit on the amount of bandwidth a site is allowed, Rosenstein says he doubts most people will ever reach the limit. The limit is primarily in place to foil the efforts of spammers, he said.

There are few restrictions on the type of content Google will allow users to publish, though Rosenstein said there won’t be any mechanisms for ecommerce or interactivity.

Pages hosted on Google Pages are ordinary web pages, and will be included in Google’s (and presumably other search engines) web index, though they won’t be given any special treatment in ranking.

Despite their best intentions, I think they are going to have a problem with various forms of abuse. However, a bigger question is, why? Google already has the free Blogger service for would-be webloggers, so the suspicion is that it’s market positioning against the wildly popular MySpace. If so, they are going to need more than a few generalized web site templates to play.

As for the other players, Yahoo and Lycos still have those golden oldies, GeoCities and Tripod, complete with the annoying ads. Microsoft has the free MSN Spaces blogging service, but nothing in this arena and it’s not clear that they should. The real question is if or how the big names are planning to compete with MySpace.



Filed under Coopetition, Google, Lycos, MSN, MSN Spaces, MySpace, Yahoo

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One Response to “New Google free web site service part of retro trend?”

  1. Microsoft News Tracker » Is Google a one trick pony? Says:

    [...] Google’s announcement of a less than scintillating free web site service this week has a number of folks scratching their heads as to whether Google can ever branch out beyond the web search and Internet advertising space. Mark Evans makes the case that their attempts to do so are scattered and unfocused. Conclusion: As much as investors love Google, let’s be clear here: it’s a one trick-pony, although the trick is extremely lucrative. For all the talk about Larry Page and Sergey Brin becoming strategic visionaries, it’s hard to see a vision unless it’s about creating new real estate for AdSense – regardless of whether these new services are any good. Maybe there’s a master plan happening that the rest of us can’t grasp yet but it would be nice for Google to commit itself to doing something really well when it introduces a new service – rather than coming out with something that disappoints and doesn’t move a market forward. [...]

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