Google Sites is getting an upgrade. Starting today, Google will provide templates that it claims makes it possible for users with no technical background to create web sites with a degree of functionality that includes page layouts, adding links for navigation and embedded gadgets.
Templates are available for intranets, project sites, team sites, employee profile pages and other sites that people would use within the enterprise. Employees using Google Sites may submit their own templates to a gallery, similar to the services that Sharepoint offers.
Google Sites is making a clear strike against Microsoft which requires a certain level of technical skill to create a Sharepoint site.
The differences between Google and Microsoft are often quite striking. Microsoft is a document-centric organization. Sharepoint uses a file system architecture for customers to deposit their documents. With Sharepoint, companies may use a web inetrface to share their documents.
Google's approach is entirely web centric. Documents are web pages. Each document is a link, not a file. When documents are uploaded to Google, they are converted, so to speak, each document receiving its own unique URL.
It is this approach that you see with Google Sites. By being entirely web-centric, Google believes it is making it easier for employees to share information, act faster and cross-pollinate ideas.
It's difficult to say which approach is better though web converts will tell you that sharing web links is far easier than files. We agree with that point but the Sharepoint environment is tremendously popular. It has its core set of users who are happy that they can share documents in such a manner. Most organizations work in a document centric environment and are therefore comfortable with Sharepoint. It's an environment that many people trust.