Thursday, September 24, 2009 2:01 PM
For the last 18 months Google Sites has given businesses a way to quickly build their own websites with no HTML knowledge required, making for an easy way to help coordinate efforts internally and to also build consumer facing sites. But there's been one fairly major complaint about the service: there was no easy way to export your data if you wanted to take it elsewhere. Today that changes, as Google introduces its new Sites API.
For those that aren't familiar with it, Sites is the reincarnation of Jotspot, which Google acquired back in 2006 (though the two products look totally different). The product is Google's easy-to-use website and wiki builder that's widely used by businesses, though there's a consumer option available.
The new API is part of Google's recently launched Data Liberation Front, which consists of a team at Google with the "singular goal is to make it easier for users to move their data in and out of Google products". In other words, it's Google's attempt to ensure that if you're no longer pleased with one of its services, it should be fairly easy to pick up and go somewhere else without losing any of your data. It also gives businesses a chance to create their own local backups ?????something that Google says has been among Sites' most requested features. But there's plenty you can do with the new API beyond just data export.
Businesses will now be able to update their Sites pages from third party apps (Google offers the example of updating a Sites page when a new lead is added to your CRM). You can also use the API to download your entire Google Sites account to your desktop, which would be helpful if you were in a region with minimal Internet connectivity.