Thursday, February 28, 2008

Web 2.5

Few hours ago I had a conversation with a Sharepoint administrator I know about the new Google Sites service. He told me that their announcement was the talk-of-the-day, and couldn't go unnoticed. We talked about what threat could the new service be for MS Sharepoint or Office at all.
For those of you who are familiar with organization/enterprise oriented portals, the idea of Google Sites is not new: an individual, a team or an entire organization, can build up a site around an idea (a project, a shared point of interest, etc.) simply, quickly and without having to write a single line of HTML. Afterwards, they can add to this sites, lists of objects, such as documents, pictures, spreadsheets, calendars, task-lists, etc. This is done very easily, and with full integration to the user's desktop applications (MS office, OpenOffice, Web-based office, etc.).
Now for the exciting part. Google's product might not be better than the competition (yet) in the organization level. BUT, they are the first to bring such a polished, full-featured product, to the Internet. Now, everyone can create sites around ideas, projects, shared interests, etc. Using the same tools they are familiar with: Google Docs, Picasa, Youtube, RSS feeds and such.
I like to call this new level of services: Web 2.5. Why? Because in Web 2.0, the control over the content of the web, was passed to the individual. Now, the control over the content is passed to group of individuals – collaborating. Imagine how powerful it might be for a team of students, working on the same project, to collaborate using such tool, and share their results with the client (lecturer or a real client, doesn't matter). This is the evolution of Wikis.
Of course there are limitations: 10MB per file, integration with GoogleTalk yet to be made, workflows around documents aren't possible, and a lot more. But hey, we can call it Web 2.49 until then.


  1. Funny, I also talked to a Sharepoint admin I know the moment I read the announcements...

    Of course it's quite basic at the moment, and I see it as an advantage for the person who wants to quickly set up a page in the Intranet.
    It fits perfectly in the Google Apps package - Google Docs for example was the first time I could really work in parallel in real time ("collaborate" as the Web 2.5 people say) on my travel plans document with my friends. This is still not possible with Sharepoint or Office Live as far as I know.

    Also, advertising is currently by far the most dominant income source for Google, but I think in a couple of years "Google Office" will become quite significant.

    For me the cloud computing is truly the next "version" of the Web - from personal online storage services (like JungleDisk) to the ability to cheaply run Google-like distributed processing (see Hadoop) on top off huge clusters of machines (like those provided by Amazon Web Services) without owning a single machine.

  2. Yevgeny, for your last paragraph, what you're suggesting is called Grid Computing. The concept and the vision exists for more than a few years, only that the implementation was costly (very costly).
    Once These ideas would combine, that means, a Google Site would be built upon a mashup of Amazon-Hadoop-etc and Google's own products, we would have the ultimate online project (real world) management solution. Startups could rise and even sell without owning a single server. Then you could call it Web 2.75

  3. I actually saw the post on the
    "Official Google Blog" here.
    I care to make it interesting.
    Ms SharePoint has a free edition.
    It is called WSS - Windows SharePoint Services. It contains the Site Collection feature as it called in the SharePoint world.
    So... When asked to built a Web content management platform,
    SharePoint is still "Game" :>

  4. Amir, be precise. Google offers more than just web content management for free, but also features that MS charges a great deal of money: search, office integration (as much as you can call Google Docs "office"), available via the web to everyone (no sysadmin required) and works on all browsers available. Also, it works nicely (and quickly) with Hebrew.