Google Enters Web Design Business

Google is venturing into new Internet waters — again.

The search giant officially launched Google Page Creator on Thursday to beef up its ever-evolving Web-based toolbox. Google’s new service will compete with products from Apple, Adobe, Microsoft and MySpace.

Specifically, Google Page Creator is targeting the Web site design market. The company touts the product as a “free online tool that makes it easy for anyone to create and publish useful, attractive Web pages in just minutes.”

“Page Creator is just another way in which Google can get more unique content than the other guy while building its index, gathering more data and expanding its reach,” said Jason Dowdell, who operates MarketingShift, a media research and technology Web site. “The next step is adding social networking.”

No-Brainer Development

Google is tapping into ease of use, much as it does with its various other services. No technical knowledge is required to use Page Creator. That means users can build Web pages without having to learn HTML or use special software.

Page Creator users can edit pages right in the Web browser and see exactly how the finished product will look each step along the way, Google said. What’s more, they don’t have to pay a penny in Web hosting fees. Users have access to four basic templates and 41 designs in the beta version.

Of course, the Web page won’t have a traditional URL. The site’s URL will be configured like so: http://yourgmailusername.googlepages.com. Each user can store up to 100 megabytes of text and images.

Web Developers React

Could the mighty Google be looking to put pricier Web developers out of business?

“It’s Google, which is a little scary because the company could at any time acquire another company that provides Web sites for US$199 and blend that into its offering,” Sostre & Associates Principal Analyst Pedro Sostre told TechNewsWorld.

Google is not the first to offer these types of pages, of course. Go Daddy has a similar service, and Yahoo has its discounted Web hosting and design services aimed at small businesses.

AdWords Advantages

“It seems Google is really moving to capitalize on these small AdWords advertisers that don’t know how to make Web sites themselves,” Sostre said. “Rolling out Page Creator is just one more way Google can gain the loyalty of these customers.”

Google crawls pages created with Page Creator within a few hours. This is an advantage for users of the program, with Google boasting 75 percent of the nearly 2.5 billion searches Nielsen//NetRatings tracked in January 2006. That’s good news — and bad news — for AdWords buyers.

“This is actually a little unfortunate because services like this proliferate a worse user experience on the Internet. There’s a huge group of people who are using Blogger just for search engine spam. I can see this adding to that,” Sostre said.

Google Page Creator is still in an early testing phase. Google is inviting Gmail account holders to take the program for a test drive.

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