Google Wiki, Where Art Thou?

Industry rivals speculate that the much-talked-about Google wiki software will tightly connect with Google Apps.

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Googles wiki software will likely be some sort of connective tissue for Google Apps, stitching together the companys popular Docs, Spreadsheets and other applications.

Thats the consensus from some industry experts who have had more than a year to pontificate on the product since Google bought wiki software maker JotSpot in October 2006.

Ross Mayfield, president and co-founder of enterprise wiki software provider Socialtext, said Google will likely commoditize the low end of the hosted market that is ripe for small businesses and individuals but not necessarily go after Socialtexts medium and large business interests.

"We have to anticipate that at some point Google will offer a Google wiki to leverage some of what they got out of that investment beyond two great search executives," Mayfield told eWEEK, taking a slight shot at the search giant.


Socialtext reloads. Click here to read more.

Jordan Frank, vice president of marketing for Traction Software, which makes the TeamPage wiki, said he expects the wiki software will be mashed in with the hosted Google Apps.

Such an approach would significantly boost Google Apps, adding new layers of collaboration for consumers and businesses. However, trying to get the JotSpot code to work with the various Google Apps can be a tricky architectural challenge, which is likely why the software hasnt yet surfaced.

Frank said the large volume of Google account holders, and the ease with which consumers and professionals can use Google Apps for informal file sharing and calendaring, would put wiki technology into the hands of many user groups who wouldnt have considered trying to use one for day-to-day information management.

Google is mum on the speculation but did acknowledge the association with Google Apps.

"Google shares JotSpots vision for helping people collaborate, share and work together online, and JotSpots team and technology are a strong fit with existing Google products like Google Apps," a Google spokesperson told eWEEK.

Analysts, who typically have their noses pretty close to the ground, arent having much better luck getting a bead on Googles wiki plans.

Forrester Research analyst Oliver Young told eWEEK he asked specifically about JotSpot and was told the company has big plans for the technology but is trying to make sure the integration is right before launching.

Meanwhile, a steady burble of announcements around enterprise wikis is triggering questions about Googles talked-about wiki offering.

Web content management provider acquired wiki software specialist Infostoria Oct. 29. Socialtext Nov. 5 installed a new CEO and banked $9.5 million in funding, and Traction upgraded its enterprise blog and wiki software Nov. 12.


To read more about Tractions new wiki software, click here.

Moreover, open-source wiki specialist MindTouch will soon trot out a new wiki hosting service for creating mashups and composite applications.

While he wouldnt publicly speculate on what Google is doing with the JotSpot assets, MindTouch co-founder Aaron Fulkerson did his part of an open-source torch bearer, claiming that he doesnt put much stock in proprietary wiki solutions.

Fulkerson told eWEEK the proprietary approach will ultimately prove fatal for wiki providers—even Google—because customers dont want to use closed systems for collaboration.


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