If it isn't enough to conduct your searches, read your email and do your chatting via Google, you can now also build and host your web site there. Taking a cue from older communities like GeoCities, Google has released their new Google Page Creator, a WYSIWYG style editor that allows users to create a web site and host it at theiraccount.googlepages.com.

Google Page Creator is available for free to anyone with a Gmail account, though new registrations are closed right now due to "heavy demand." (Apparently Google didn't learn from the Google Analytics experience.) The system works off of a "What You See is What You Get" (WYSIWYG) editor that will allow even those unfamiliar with HTML to create their own web sites. With all of the pages gathered together under the googlepages.com domain, Google will be able to build it's own online community.

The service will run on both IE and Firefox and will require the use of cookies and JavaScript. Individual web sites will be limited to 100MB in server space. It's still in beta though (and listed in Google Labs) and a full release date hasn't been announced.

Although they state that no preferential treatment will be given to sites on the GooglePages network, Google does promise quick spidering of pages on the GooglePages network, stating on the Google Page Creator FAQ:

The pages you create can be crawled by Google within a few hours of publication.

Users can select from four primary templates and more than forty designs. It also keeps track of how many pages you've created and how much of your 100MB of space you've used.

While the move will come as a surprise to many in the world of search, it makes good sense. Yahoo! already owns the GeoCities community and MSN has been generating good press with MSN Spaces. What remains to be seen is how fully Google will seek to integrate these new pages into their other services.

It's easy enough to envision a push-button integration of AdSense into sites, similar to the way that Google has made AdSense an easily-to-integrate feature of Blogger. On that level, it's also easy enough to see how Google might integrate Blogger with these pages. The ability of the average Internet user to set up a web site that features a blog and AdSense without ever having to touch the code is fairly intriguing. Add in the free hosting and you're set.

If Google can generate an online community the size of GeoCities or MSN Spaces and can run AdSense ads on every site, they stand to see a radical increase of advertising revenue. The easy integration of AdSense for users would also be a draw in terms of convincing them to leave one of the other networks in favor of Google.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.

February 23, 2006

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

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