Well, that was fast. We discussed the updates to Google’s popular Sites app back in September after an early adopted program was announced. The program filled up before most could get in, but no matter, availability for all is here much sooner than we expected. If you missed our last blog post on the subject, or need a refresher, Sites is a cloud productivity application that grants organisations the ability to create and collaborate on intranet websites and project centers that are a cinch to put together.
Sites revolves around three key goals. The first of these is dumping the confusing and complicated HTML and Flash languages that alienate the average user. Google hopes to accomplish this by trading in staggered and fragile code for straightforward, drag-n-drop interfaces that allow users to position images, text, buttons, and sharing features with the mouse rather than text.
Second, Sites wants to ensure that no matter what you put on the page, it looks great. Machine learning is everywhere, and we’ve spoken at length about it here on our blog. In this particular instance, Sites leverages the power of machine learning to find the best possible arrangement of your content. Do you want a banner image overlayed with text on your page? Sites will aggregate data from millions of webpages to automatically determine the best colour, blur, and dimensions of those two elements. It doesn’t matter whether you have one content block or fifty, you’ll always have the option to optimise them with the click of a button.
Third, and most revolutionarily, is how Sites works with your G Suite infrastructure. Google Drives, Docs, Slides, and Sheets can be integrated directly into your site so employees see a live representation of your cloud files right on the page. In fact, users can even edit those files from within your site. And with cloud collaboration and live-editing on finished pages, there’s no way Google could withhold co-authoring features from the site design process. When laying out your project page, you’re free to invite colleagues to log in and contribute from anywhere in the world, allowing you to see their edits and suggestions in real time.
There’s a host of other new features, but with the new and improved Sites available to all G Suite (or Google Apps for Work, if you missed the memo on the name change) customers right now, you might as well go see them for yourself. If you already have an account, just visit this page and click ‘+’ on the bottom right hand corner of the page to start your site today! And of course, for those who don’t have a G Suite subscription, we encourage you to contact us about everything we can do to make your transition to the cloud seamless.
If you’re already a G Suite customer with high-traffic intranet pages built through the old Sites framework, don’t worry. Your existing site won’t be forced to migrate to the new system until 2018, and when it is, Google has promised migration plan tools to streamline the process. We agree that there may be reasons to keep your site on the old system until then, but they certainly need to be weighed against the benefits of easier updating, better visuals, and…
Brand new analytics
Not mentioned during the release of the early adopted program, pages created in Sites will integrate with the powerful Google Analytics platform. Improving your intranet pages directly translates into improved productivity. A quick peek under the hood of your site will show who is visiting, when and where they’re going, how they access the site, and much, much more.
If you notice 90 percent of your employees are accessing the embedded Drive on an inner page, but only 10 percent of site visitors interact with the calendar on the front page, your site probably needs some reorganisation. It might sound insignificant at first, but the very essence of project sites is to grease the gears of creativity, and that means you need to squeeze out every ounce of efficiency you can.
We hate when businesses overuse the word “simple.” It’s lazy to label our services this way, and in addition to being vague, simple isn’t always best. Sometimes you want options, sometimes you want intricacy. But creating web pages is not the time for complexity; you want to put an image on the canvas and have it actually line up the same way after you click Preview. So this time, we have to fold — G Suite’s Sites is the most wonderfully simple way to create team pages. Call us today, and your employees will be collaborating on your company page by the end of the day.