Google Sites application comes as part of the Google Apps Productivity Suite. It stands separately in the world of the popular website builders, as it’s targeted mainly at building corporate, team-oriented websites, rather than personal web pages. This web-page creation tool can come in handy, in case you use it for the right purpose.

Google Sites Logo

A Bit of History

Google Sites started off as JotSpot, a sole product developed by a software company offering enterprise-oriented software. Their potential users included small- and medium-sized businesses. JotSpot was founded by the co-founders of Excite web service, Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer.

In May 2006 JotSpot was named one of the Infoworld’s ‘15 Start-ups to Watch’. Four months later this tool was acquired by Google. Google Sites as we know this service was unveiled on February 28, 2008. The service itself was free, but the customers had to obtain a domain name (which Google offered for $10). However, later Google Sites app became available for free, and without the need for a custom domain name.

Google Sites Intranet

Undeniable advantages

I think it makes no sense to describe the standard set of features Google Sites app offers, since in fact, it doesn’t differ much from the features you will find on other website builders. So, let’s focus on the most unique specs:

  • Ability to map your website to a custom domain, be it a personal Google Site or a Business account.

  • Multi-tier permissions and accessibility. In case you use Google Documents, you’re already familiarized well with these settings. Google Sites work on the same principle: owners have full control over the website design and content, while editors can’t modify structural elements of the pages. Viewers can only visit the website, but they have no editing rights.

  • Web pages built with Google Sites can be seamlessly synchronized with other popular Google products – Youtube, Google Maps, AdSense, Calendar, Google Docs etc.

  • The website builder offers quite a mediocre template collection and it also differentiates between the terms “a template” and “a theme”. While the first term is applicable to the layout and web page types, the second one is mentioned when it comes to the overall design and feel of the website (images and color scheme included). Thus, when you activate the Change Page template option, the entire page type will change (not the basic theme as it is in other popular services). To switch the theme, you should access the Themes, Colors and Fonts section. It also makes sense to note that mobile optimization is not provided by default here. Instead, you need to activate the feature manually in the control panel to provide the enhanced mobile browsing experience.

Google Sites from Within



Although Google Sites tool offers a great deal of nice stuff, there are some things that can bother your about this website builder:

  • Limited customization. Compared with other website builders, Google Sites’ system is a bit ossified – you’re limited to the provided themes and structures, and there’s no way to integrate your own designs and layouts.

  • No open use of CSS. However, you may use Javascript and CSS within an embedded gadget.

  • Limited e-store functionality – must use Google i-store gadget, no third-party shopping carts allowed.

Best for

Google Sites can be a great solution for building a powerful, flexible intranet. This website building tool works best for business purposes, various clubs and groups, as it offers flexible collaboration and communication solutions.

How Much Does It Cost?

Google Sites is a free app, which is provided as a part of the Gogle production site. If you use Google for free, your website storage space will be limited. To get access to deeper functionality and project flexibility, you’ll need to upgrade to one of the paid G Suite subscriptions, namely: Basic ($5/month or $50/year), Business ($10/month or $120/year), Enterprise ($25/month or $300/year). The difference between the plans is about the set of business apps included, storage space amount and availability of advanced features.

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