Thursday, February 23, 2006

Google Beta Launch Lasts Four Hours?

Google announced today a Beta launch of its new Google Page Creator, a WYSIWYG application intended to make it easy for individuals to create a hosted Google website. Hadn't seen much buzz on it in advance of today's announcement but people listening closely heard rumblings as early as July. For those in the industry for whom the new service could present a threat, this is another example of why listening to the online chatter is worthwhile.

Either way, this morning I was excited about giving it a whirl and posting my findings here.

Unfortunately, although the announcement hit the wires at 6AM ET this morning, Google filled up on beta users by the time I tried to sign up at 10:40AM:

Thank you for your interest in Google Page Creator! Google Page Creator has experienced extremely strong demand, and, as a result, we have temporarily limited the number of new signups as we increase capacity. In the meantime, please submit your email address and we will notify you as soon as we are ready to add new accounts. Thank you for your patience.

It could just be a testament to Google's presence that they got all the users they needed for a beta in about 240 minutes, or an indication that they weren't looking for that many people to try the tool.

Or it could be a tactic for building buzz - make something available, but keep access somewhat scarce.

That would follow a similar pathway in how Google launched Gmail - it started with a small group of users and gave them the ability to invite a limited number of friends to join. A Gmail account became a bit of a techie's status symbol during the first few months of the service.

Or maybe Google hasn't made a big fuss because they just figure it's not that big of a deal.

Those who have accessed Google Page Creator haven't necessarily been awe-struck, pointing out feature deficits for anyone but beginning users and a lack of differentiation from available solutions. Blogger Andy Brudtkuhl felt a bit of deja vu, reminding us of longtime provider GeoCities.

But, as the "mofo" linked above pointed out, for now, it's not as much news about a website design tool as news that more free web space is on its way.

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