Founded in 2004, JotSpot had an installed base of thousands of organizations when Google acquired the company. JotSpot had been praised for its ease of use and extensible architecture.
Like Google Sites, JotSpot let users create collaborative Web sites without the need for programming knowledge, and users could embed in them applications and components, like spreadsheets, calendars and documents. Some JotSpot applications will be ported over to Google Sites, while others will be phased out, the Google spokesman said.
With the service, users can build Web sites of many types, including intranets, blogs and public sites for a variety of purposes, Glotzbach said. Google Sites is available to users of Apps' Standard, Education, Premier and Team editions.
Rebecca Wettemann, a Nucleus Research analyst, recommends that large enterprises planning to broadly offer Google Sites establish a structure and hierarchy for its sites. "Just like with any intranet strategy, it's not just about posting pages but making sure that people can find the information they need," Wettemann said. Still, it will be inevitable that Google Sites be used in an ad hoc, under-the-radar manner in some organizations, particularly because it is so easy to use, she said.
The addition of Google Sites is the latest improvement to Google Apps, an example of a new breed of hosted collaboration and communication software seen as a threat to conventional software designed to be installed on customers' PCs and servers, like Microsoft's Office, Exchange and SharePoint and IBM's Lotus/Domino.
Google Apps has been activated on over 500,000 organizations, most of them small and medium-size businesses.