Google Launches Page Creator

By Nathan Weinberg

Google has released Page Creator, an AJAX-powered web page creation and hosting service. Page Creator promises to make “creating your own web pages as easy as creating a document in a word processor”, and half as good looking (I added that part, but you’ll see).

You get 100 megabytes of space for your page and uploaded files, which probably makes it a good way to store a few podcasts.

Page Creator is actually open to all, although I always worry, so sign up fast in case Google closes the beta eventually. It requires Internet Explorer 6 or Firefox 1.0 or higher. It runs very poorly in Internet Explorer 7, at least in my usage, with many bugs.

In the FAQ, Google draws distinctions between “web sites” and “web pages”, and says that, for now, you can only create pages (as many as you’d like), but full websites are not yet possible.

The interface is Google-standard, of course, resembling Gmail. You are presented a view of your current pages, an icon to create a new one, and a place to upload files. The page creation interface shows you the page, with boxes to add content to, and options to alter the look and layout of the page.

Content editing options are: adding images, links, bold, italics, unordered lists, changing text color or font (Normal[?], Times, Arial, Courier New, Georgia, Trebuchet and Verdana), font size (small, normal, large and huge), text alignment and inserting H1, H2 and H3 text. You also can click a button to edit the HTML directly, but you can only edit HTML within the DIVs Google gives you; you cannot change the page structure in any way. And you can try inserting AdSense code, but that didn’t work for me.

The word processor analogy for page creation, as I pointed out above, is a poor one, since a good Word document is a crappy website. Websites are about flow, sending you somewhere, making navigation clear, helping you find things and then letting you process them. None of that is accomplished using a WYSIWYG editor; it needs a real design tool.

There are three options for page layout:

There are 41 options for page themes, my favorite of which turned out to be this one.

Your page URL is your Google Account name, or rather [accountname], which is a great way to announce your Gmail account name. You have the option of choosing a “Site name” in the settings, which simply gives you global control of the title tag. Why can’t you edit it by page? No idea.

Oh, but that doesn’t matter, since the Settings page has no “Save Settings” button, at least in Firefox. That’s smart.

Google must have previously hosted the pages at, like this page, which clearly has the same template as this Google Pages template. PageTastic pages in Google’s index are dissapearing, reapearing at Google accidently left a mention of it in their FAQ:

14. Why aren’t the changes I’m making in Google Page Creator being reflected on my site?

Make sure to click on the “Publish” button after you make changes; until you do, the online version of your page will remain just as it was the last time you decided to publish. Occasionally, it may take up to 30 seconds after you click “Publish” for changes to be reflected on your site.

Anyway, as I’m writing this way too early in the morning, I can’t say I’m too impressed. Google has recreated Geocities, only with more storage and no popups. Meanwhile, Windows Live Office does the same thing, also for free (although with more space restrictions) with the most robust web-based site editor I’ve ever seen (yes, I’ve been playing around with that beta, too).

Google can’t compete with Microsoft in a market where Google-simple graphics and limited options aren’t what people want. The market Google should be appealing to are small businesses that need a web presence, something to point their AdWords at, and Microsoft has the better creation tools for them. Regular people will keep using blogs, since they work better, and have more options to grow.

I hope Google plans more for this, because if they look at what Microsoft is doing and make that their target, they could have something (Microsoft’s is powerful, almost too powerful). But if they plan on having the Blogger of static pages, I suspect they’ll find that space has never worked before, for anyone. They might have been better off just creating Static Blogger.

Search Engine Watch has some explanation of the philosophy:

[project manager Justin] Rosenstein says the service was the result of frustration he experienced when friends or family members wanted to create web sites but were stymied by technical challenges. He said that he assembled a team within Google to create a simple, easy to use tool as part of a “20% project,” in which Google engineers are encouraged to spend a day a week working on non-job related projects.

What’s the difference between Google Page Creator and Blogger, the free blog publishing and hosting service also owned by Google? Rosenstein says that Google Page Creator is aimed at people who are interested in publishing a simple, relatively static web site, whereas Blogger is designed for people who want to post frequently, with regularly changing content.

Dave Winer calls it “totally unremarkable“.

February 23, 2006 by Nathan Weinberg in:

10 Responses to “Google Launches Page Creator”

  1. On the Edge - René Seifert's Insights Says:

    Google launches Creator for User Pages

    Just came across something new from Google’s relentless development pipeline: A Page Creator which allows anybody to easily build and host his page, including 41 design-templates at choice. Here is the link to sign up to the service….

  2. rr Says:

    A concern I have is that these things are coming out of google’s 20% time with no strategic plan. Like for this, a googler thought of it after hearing friends find it hard to create a website. Google Feed Reader started out of a couple of googler’s love for blogs and feeds. These googlers are not starting these projects for stategic reasons. I guess the executives should be pointing these tools in a strategic direction, but that is never clear from the initial launches.

    My question is when are we going to see bigger stategic moves. I guess that should come from the 70% time they give to search and ads. Unless google come out with some breakthroughs in search and or ads, within two to three years they will be marginalized by yahoo and microsoft. Because it sure does not seem like any big strategic money makers is going to come out of the other 30% time spent on other related products - at least, so far it hasn’t.

    Microsoft and yahoo are both making calculated strategic moves. The other day Google’s Eric Schmidt on Times cover said they only look confused, but are well strategically measured; for their own good, I sure hope that’s true.

  3. Paul (FofR) Says:

    What’s with all these mediocre releases.

  4. Paul (FofR) Says:

    Addendum: I do appreciate another free 100mb of webspace however.

  5. Cloudy Thinking » Blog Archive » Google Page Creator Says:

    […] You know me, almost always willing to try the latest web service. I built a very simple home page using the beta version of Google Page Creator. […]

  6. Stu Says:

    They closed the door! Nathan, hook a brother up with an invite when you get some? :D

  7. Greg Linden Says:

    Yet another half-assed Google product that can’t seem to scale. It’s already closed to new users.

    Lame, Google.

  8. ac Says:


    Just signed up with this service. Unfortunately this doesn’t live up to the quality of gmail, let alone gtalk. Perhaps the urgency was due to office live being lauchend. Wonder if google would offer free domian registration(with or without the condition of ads).

  9. rr Says:

    well, to be fair, the home page did say that it’s in an early test stage. I think google need to communicate better about their betas, and what people should expect to avoid bad pr, when know the service is limited and buggy.

  10. Niraj Says:

    Stu, The best you can do is get on the waiting list. I got in late last night before they blocked new sign-ups, but there’s no way to invite others.

Leave a Reply

Commenting? If there's a contest today, you might be entering to win something. Check it out.

- This blog has coComment integrated.