Free Google App Attacks Sharepoint

Dennis Faas's picture

When you're king-of-the-hill, everybody wants to knock you off. Google has opened a new assault on Microsoft by going after the software giant's SharePoint program, an application that provides a collaboration platform for groups of workers.

Google's new application, labeled Google Sites, will be added to the existing suite of Google Apps. It was originally developed by start-up JotSpot, which was acquired by Google in late 2006. A key difference between Google Sites and Microsoft SharePoint is that the Google service will be free. (Source:

Essentially, Google Sites is a "wiki" type suite focused on small to medium-size businesses. It creates a common workspace for a group in which text, multimedia, calendars and files can be posted for the group to view or edit. Also, it provides a way to create multiple wikis targeting specific groups or activities. In some ways, the Google Sites functionality is similar to that offered by Microsoft Sharepoint or IBM's Lotus Notes, but it does not yet offer the same richness in applications or integration with other software.

However, it is free, and it is easy-to-use. With neither the expense nor the management effort required of systems like Sharepoint or Notes, it is entirely possible that it will mushroom into businesses in a viral way. Already, Google is bragging about early users, like the city of Washington D.C. and firms like Zodiac Interactive. (Source:

On the other hand, it's probably a bit early for Google product management director, Matthew Glotzbach, to be calling it a "Sharepoint killer." There's a long way to go. Microsoft doesn't yet look concerned about potentially losing its $1 billion Sharepoint business, and business users are hesitant to invest information and processes into a site they don't fully control. In fact, Google Sites is probably less of a 'Sharepoint killer' than it is a good excuse for small and medium-sized businesses to invest in other Google applications.

Maybe that's something, Microsoft should be worried about.

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