GOOGLE GOES AFTER SHAREPOINTWatch this space. With wiki's being an online tool anyway and many of them starting from bottom up initiatives with little to no budget, Google is a natural pick for this sort of offering. The question is whether they will customise it too much, and in doing so take away some of the simplicity that makes wikis work so well.
Perhaps as a move to upstage Microsoft's first SharePoint conference next week (http://tinyurl.com/yo2b6r), Google today took the wraps off Google Sites, a set of tools that can be used to create collaborative Web sites.
The new offering, which is built on a wiki technology the company acquired last year, will be the latest member to the company's Google Apps suite of software. Supposedly, Google Sites helps users with just a smidge of technical ability to piece together Web sites in a matter of minutes. They can use these sites to house different functions such as calendars, spreadsheets and videos.
While the technology appears to be aimed at non-technical consumers, the timing of the announcement relative to Redmond's SharePoint conference might be sending a signal about where Google ultimately wants to target the product. Some feel that Google is hoping business users will hold Google Sites and SharePoint side-by-side and, consequently, steal some of those users looking primarily for hosted solutions. The company is betting some users don't want to invest any more infrastructure solutions based inside their IT shops.
Google has been pretty adept at wedging its way into corporate environments under the IT radar (something Microsoft itself was pretty adept at doing 20 years ago), but it figures to have its hands full competing against Redmond's SharePoint franchise, which is becoming fairly well-entrenched in larger IT shops.
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