Believe it or not, there are actually circumstances wherein a site’s Google ranking doesn’t matter in the slightest. Many of us have witnessed firsthand that as a company grows, internal communication and organisation gets a bit wobbly and can even result in total communication breakdown. Intranets, or internal networks, have long been a staple of organisations looking to ease this burden. Whether those solutions take the form of network drives, calendars, or messaging systems, their goal has always been to catalogue day-to-day operations. Google wants to change that.
With the announcement of an Early Adopter Program for the new Google Sites platform, businesses can enjoy smarter mobile optimisation, collaborative possibilities, and drag-and-drop templates and design features. As the most comprehensive update to Google Sites since its release in 2008, the time has come to shelve your outdated intranet in favour of a gorgeous website that brings your team together.
What does Google Sites do?
Originally a platform to help organisations create collaborative workspaces, Google Sites became so popular that its functionality was upgraded to allow organisations to create intranet and internet sites. Google Sites was very much focused on being accessed from desktop web browsers which meant it was difficult to adapt to smartphones and tablet form factors. To address this, Google designed a new Sites platform from the ground up with responsive design at its core, enabling users to create sites that work well on all types of devices.
Not only has the rendering improved in the new Sites, but it has also become as simple to build an Intranet site as easily as it is to create a slideshow presentation. In fact, a recent feature update includes a ‘Themes’ tab to automatically format your headings, subheadings and color schemes so you’re not left micromanaging your page’s visuals.
After creating a blank site page, Google’s machine learning engine helps users arrange text, pictures, and embedded video into frames that automatically snap to the most visually appealing dimensions and colour settings. Although that may lead to better-looking pages, Sites differentiates itself from competitors on two other fronts. The first is real-time collaboration. Live co-authoring features, although commonplace in document creation applications, don’t exist in any other HTML editor software. Designers are truly free to work together as if they’re on the same machine, from anywhere in the world.
Another key feature of the new Sites is how well it integrates with the entire suite of Google Apps for Work. Folders, Documents, Presentations, Forms, Spreadsheets, Charts, Calendars, Maps and Videos can be easily embedded in your intranet site. By displaying these plugins in real-time, you can manage and create workflows, message boards, and collaborative projects for the whole team.
How can you use it?
We envision sites whose front page is a company-wide landing page with news, updates, and links to inner pages that take employees to team-specific sites. From here, managers can easily drag and drop Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides in the order of their priority with notes in the margins. The result is essentially a departmental to-do list with all the items collected in one central location. Think about how much time is required to create just one project’s resources and a list of details and materials. With Sites, you can manage the whole team’s entire workload with a few clicks.
And the best part of all this? It’s only going to look better after coming out of its Early Adopter stage. Currently, Sites can be shared only with co-workers; but when the service goes live for everyone, creating public sites will be an option. With no official release date yet, Google has promised the update will go live within a year, and users of the current code-heavy version of Sites can opt out if they would prefer to stick with the current platform.
Why would a company that promises to streamline your cloud services and platforms introduce an early adopter program? Because there’s a fine line between simplifying your solutions and modernising them, and we’re dancing across it with the grace of seasoned veterans. The staff at Damson Cloud has been working hand-in-hand with Google’s cloud services for more than seven years, and we know a good thing when we see it. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to create and manage a company site, we know how to make that a reality. Contact us today.