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By Rich Karpinski

Google continues to roll out new office-oriented products. The latest: a wiki-style site designed to enable team collaboration and serve as your small business's intranet.

The product, called Google Sites, was built on technology from Google acquisition JotSpot (though it looks and acts more like a Google application than anything JotSpot ever released).




What's it good for? I'd say the best place to start is to use it to build a small business intranet. Sign-up using your company's domain (it won't work using a generic address, even Gmail). Your company then has access not only to Google Sites but other Google apps as well including Google Docs and Calendar, all on a shared basis.

You can then invite others in your organization to join. Start building basic pages such as announcements, to-do lists, document upload pages, etc., all using built-in templates. You can even embed Google Desktop Gadgets, which immediately makes Google Sites a fairly robust environment since there are literally hundreds of these widgets available today.

On top of that, other key features include typical in-place wiki-style editing; 10 Mb of storage; and built-in Google-driven search capabilities.

And it's free.

Google Sites competes with existing wiki products like PBWiki as well as 37 Signals Backpack product, which just added multi-user support.

Google says its aiming to take on Microsoft Sharepoint with Google Sites, but that's quite a stretch since Sharepoint is at this point a very robust, server-based collaboration solution with deep ties to Microsoft Office.

Which makes it a great option for sophisticated enterprises but not so great for small businesses -- which just might be the sweet spot for Google Sites.

Check out Google Sites in action in this video:


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