Along the way, and especially in search, I learned enough to decipher key elements and recognize good from bad. Yet I could see, in the not-so-distant future, a time when building a Web site would be made easy for the masses. I liken Web sites to motorcycles. Both are complex entities, and while it helps to know the basics, like changing your oil or swapping out a battery, it is entirely possible to be a lifelong rider and speak intelligently without knowing how to do a valve adjustment.
Recently, my dream came true, when I received 2 little e-mails from Google. The first was a confirmation that I was in on the "Gmail for your domain" test. This was shortly followed by an email from Google Page Creator, stating that my account was enabled for the beta. I ran through the basics of the Gmail test, and then settled in on the meatier Page Creator. I wasn't even sure what kind of page I wanted to build. All I knew is that I am a sucker for anything beta, and dove head in.
Since the url structure is "gmailname.googlepages.com," I was happy to have selected "saraholoubek" when I first signed up. I then picked a bold pink template and started filling my page with much of the same content as is on my blog. This is when I realized that I have been poisoned by blog structures and had completely ignored the fact that Page Creator allows one to create as many pages as desired. One can essentially build a site by linking pages together, giving the impression of a permanent navigation if certain pages are consistently linked in the same area. Suddenly, the door was wide open. Pictures, layouts, it is all fair game and incredibly easy thanks to the AJAX magic (For non-techies: AJAX is a development technique that makes sites seem immediately responsive without reloading the entire Web page each time the user makes a change.) If you want to get wild and crazy, you can edit the HTML, but that is completely up to you. Bonus points are granted for the autosave function and the 100 megabytes of space. Oh, and did I mention this is free? (Well, at least for now.)
But since Google-bashing has become the hobby du jour, I began to wonder what the diehard developers thought. A quick tour of the message boards uncovered an infinite amount of Page Creator criticism, including such beefs as a lack of structure, bad code and a lot of effort to just produce blah sites. It seems that the tech world is focusing more on the actual output and less on what is really revolutionary: the usability factor and its impact on society at large.
Blogs, for example, are nothing but simple Web sites, yet they have completely changed the world. Personally, I am quite curious to see what the creative minds that commenced the blog revolution will come up with for their Google Pages. And of course, there is that lingering question of how many firms will be obliterated (or created, for that matter) by Google's entrance into personal Web sites and Gmail for your domain.
For non-techies, Page Creator rocks. At least that was the case up until last week, when a sudden slew of "Oops" messages and server errors suggested that a good number of people in trial set number two had also started creating and editing pages. That being said, I think I just might abandon my reluctant blog and site on the edge of my chair to see how long it will take for my Google Pages to be indexed.