Saturday, March 1, 2008

Google Sites: A front door into the Universal Library

After more than a year, JotSpot (bought by Google that long ago) has come out from behind the gCurtain and has reemerged as Google Sites.

I blogged the Google purchase of JotSpot back in November of 2006; I called it the "2nd wiki that Google bought." Writely (the engine for Google Docs) being the first.

So... now you can use Google to create not just pages that you can view (iGoogle), but pages that you can share with everyone. Visitors can view the pages, registered users can create/edit stuff. [I'll have a better review of the functionality after I get a Google Site up and running]

So what? So you can now use Google to search, create docs, create Web pages, share stuff, etc. etc. Nothing new here, right? These aren't the droids you're looking for...

Maybe they are.

I keep pointing people to this essay by George Dyson on Edge. In it, he says:
The books that have been written are easy. They represent the collective memory and imagination of mankind, and the technical resources now exist to deliver The Complete Works of Homo Sapiens, Unabridged. Who can argue against this? It is the realization of every librarian's dream — unless you harbor suspicions about who is going to need librarians once the Universal Library has digested all the books... The Universal Library promises us a repository for the souls of all existing books — and the resurrection of all titles that have gone extinct. And the books that have not been written yet?

Emphasis mine.

The biggest library in the universe is the one of those works as yet to be written. Every year the Web sees the creation of more content than exists in the Library of Congress. I don't want to discuss the relative value of those materials at this point. I'm just noticing that lots of people are adding lots of new stuff to "The Library" all the time.

And now Google has pushed out another service by which that content can be... manipulated? Captured? Serviced? Advertised? Searched? OK... whatever you want to call it. You can do it on Google.

So what? Some will ask. I can create a Web site on MySpace or WordPress or with a free, generic tool and a couple bucks on GoDaddy. It's not that what Google is doing with Google Sites is particularly unique, it's that it's doing it in conjunction with everything else.

Creation, too, has a much bigger brand footprint than search, advertising, etc. When you create something, you put yourself into it. The Web becomes more "yours" when you create a Wikipedia entry or post a YouTube video. Or if you create a site with Google.

No prognostication on this post. Just observation. The world's mightiest search/advertising engine is now even further into the business of creativity as well as findability. It's the printing press for the Universal Future Library as well as the table of contents and advertiser.

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