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Google's instant intranet

On his Read/Write Web blog, Richard MacManus picks up on what he calls Google's new "instant intranet" home page. I've been using a version of this since I got my new Dell laptop a few months back as it was set to be the home page in Internet Explorer. I decided I could live with it as it is really just a co-branded version of the Google personalized home page with some Dell-specific widgets.
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Written by Marc Orchant on
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On his Read/Write Web blog, Richard MacManus picks up on what he calls Google's new "instant intranet" home page. I've been using a version of this since I got my new Dell laptop a few months back as it was set to be the home page in Internet Explorer. I decided I could live with it as it is really just a co-branded version of the Google personalized home page with some Dell-specific widgets.

Richard writes:

"I think Google sees Personalized Start Page for Enterprise as a kind of 'instant Intranet' option for small-medium businesses. While the example above is from Dell, it's unlikely a big corporation would ditch their (often hugely expensive) custom-made Intranet. It could also be used a customer-facing website, which the Dell example seems to be. But I don't think that's all that appealing from a branding point of view.

You'll note that the Dell page includes some special Dell gadgets (highlighted in red on the screen shot above). This is where it starts to get interesting, as we morph into a world of componentized web apps. That kind of functionality would be very useful on a company Intranet."

Having immediate access to services like support, driver downloads, supplies ordering, and other Dell services is actually kind of handy once you get past the screen-hogging branding (really - does the Dell logo need to be that large?). All in all, it's pretty serviceable.

If Google does ship this as part of their Google Apps for Your Domain package, I suspect a number of smaller organization who haven't invested in any kind of an intranet solution could put this to pretty good use. Imagine your company's logo and a set of modules pointing to company resources or third-party hosted web apps occupying a defined portion of the page. Now imagine you're the part-time IT person at a small company trying to decide between this and an Office Live implementation. Hmm....

UPDATE: Donna Bogatin at ZDNet's Digital Micro-Markets blog reads the fine print and says "not so fast". Looks like Google is playing fast and loose with the terms of service and reserves the right to approve or deny any third-party content added to the personalized home page. Another shade of gray added to the spectrum of "do no evil".

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