Google Pages

Last week, Time magazine ran a cover story on Google (behind a pay wall now), interviewing Eric Schmidt and the two co-founders. From that interview:

Is there a grand strategy for Google? It seems as if you’re diving into almost everything.

Schmidt: We try very hard to look like we’re out of control. But in fact the company is very measured. And that’s part of our secret.
Page: We don’t generally talk about our strategy … because it’s strategic. I would rather have people think we’re confused than let our competitors know what we’re going to do. That’s an easy trade-off.

How terribly zen-like. Still, I believe it. Reading Google is difficult (to be honest, I’ve mostly given up on it), but there are patterns to be found in the tea leaves of product releases and rumors. So I think its a more or less truthful statement: these guys have a plan, one that’s far more detailed than spray and pray.

Today they released Google Page Creator, which was rumored to be coming a week or two ago. Essentially it takes on the role geocities used to fill, letting users set up static web pages. It’s good, because geocities really, really sucks these days, and while “home pages” might not have the same excitement as blogs and wikis, they static pages still have a place on the web.

Is that really all that it is though, essentially a “web 1.0” product with a slick interface? Maybe. Some think so, other’s don’t. I’m in the second camp. One of the most persistent rumors about Google is the development of an AJAX Office suite – versions of word and excel that would run in your browser. And the most grabbing statement related to Google Pages is in the help file: We’re testing a new product that makes creating your own web pages as easy as creating a document in a word processor.

As I said above, it’s reading tea leaves. But one could easily see how this could be an experiment of sorts that would act to refine some of the elements needed for a web based office suite, so I think that Google Pages is just further evidence that one is on the way. And like all their products, I think this initial release is very basic. I’ll be curious to see as time goes on what features get added and how it integrates with other services.

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