Google offers basic web design tool, free hosting service

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Mountain View (CA) - Google today added another beta service to its growing portfolio of web applications. The company now offers a web-based WYSIWIG tool that allows users to create simple web pages that can be published free of charge on Google's servers. Other than competing free hosting services, Google homepages do not include advertising.

If you've always wanted to maintain you own virtual home on the Internet and just didn't like what was available for example from services offered by Yahoo's GeoCities or Microsoft's MSN, then Google has another option for you. The new Page Creator enables users to build web pages using a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWIG) web interface to quickly build homepages and subpages without requiring any HTML knowledge.

Access to the Page Creator is limited to existing users of Google's Gmail - and even those users will have to wait until they can assemble their Google homepage. Shortly after releasing the tool, the sign-up page told interested users that the service "has experienced extremely strong demand." As a result, users will have to enter a waiting list and sign-ups will resume as soon as the firm has increased capacity.

Once through the door, users are greeted with an easy-to-use interface that offers 40 different page designs and up to 100 MB of web space. Functionality is restricted to static web pages that do not carry advanced features such as interactivity or even e-commerce. The URL of the homepages will use the user's Gmail username (http://yourmailusername.googlepages.com), which already raised privacy concerns as spammers could discover a new way to collect email addresses.

In contrast to its Blogger hosting service, Google does not expect users of Page Creator to update their homepages frequently.