Is Google 'Wiki' Getting Whacked for Google Sites?

Google Wiki where art thou? We still don't know for sure, but a recent presentation provided some illumination.

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While Google's spokespeople have been doggedly tight-lipped about the absorption of the JotSpot assets into the Google Apps product line, one Google watcher scored a breakthrough.

Google Sites, an expansion of Google's Page Creator software, will be launched in 2008 with collaboration software from JotSpot, according to search engine marketer Andrew Miller, who learned the details at a meeting hosted by Google and the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce Nov. 29.

The Sites application will allow business to set up intranets, project management tracking, customer extranets and custom sites that enable multi-user collaboration, said Miller, citing facts provided at the meeting by Scott Johnston, former vice president of product development at JotSpot and a product manager at Google.

Once again, Google was mum on the subject, which has been a constant source of interest for media and online collaboration experts since Google purchased JotSpot in October 2006.

A spokesperson reiterated to eWEEK Dec. 3 that the company is working to integrate the JotSpot technology into Google Apps, but is not providing either specifics or a release timeline.

The big news is that users will be able to edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations offline in Sites, thanks to the Google Gears plug-in designed to enable such functionality.

Click here to read more about Google's alleged wiki.

With Sites, when someone edits a document offline at the same time another user is editing the online version, the same algorithm that reconciles simultaneous editing-in chronological order-will apply when the offline version is merged back into the online version.

People use Web-based applications as alternatives to downloadable office software such as Microsoft Office because data can be stored online without having to send attachments.

But one of the drawbacks is that an Internet connection is necessary to access your online workspace. Allowing users to work in documents offline is becoming table stakes at a time when users on the go-particularly on airplanes-want to be able access their document data anywhere, anytime.

Offline access is a major reason why InstaColl introduced Live Documents Nov. 20 as an alternative to the Microsoft Office and Google Apps. Zoho's Writer application has allowed users to read and edit documents offline since Nov. 26.

Miller also learned from Johnston that Sites will allow for upload and storage of any file type; that Google Gears support is in the works for Gmail and Google Calendar; and that Google is working on tucking the GrandCentral VOIP (voice over IP) into Google Apps.

For more details on the presentation, check out Miller's post about the meeting on his Your Search Advisor business blog here.

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