Back in the day, a small business that could show evidence of a simple website with contact details and product information would at least be able to say that they were 'on the web'.
Of course things have changed. Businesses now turn to their hosting company and demand an ever-greater level of control. Perhaps it's no surprise that the term 'control panel' was naturally chosen to describe the interface that the hosting company provides for management of a website.
Looking at the services provided by Google at this level, the Google Services for Websites 'offering' is intended to enable website owners to install and activate Google web tools through the hosting control panel.
Interestingly though, it seems that Google's service may be something that needs an additional element to make it a) easy to use and b) easy to monetise. Or is it?
Companies in the virtualisation and (wait for it) 'cloud enablement' space such as Parallels are augmenting their own control panels with Google Services capabilities. But why should these control panels be necessary?
Why can't a web hoster employ the delights of Google services such as AdSense, Custom Search, Site Search, Web Elements and Webmaster Tools (sorry, just wanted to list them all) – off their own bat so-to-speak?
Parallels says that its Plesk Panel 9.5 helps the hosting company launch new services and reduce customer churn – and I can see how a management tool would be effective at that level. Equally, I suppose this extra layer could help monetise Google services more fluidly, but should it be that complicated?
After all, Google Services for Websites website appears to talk directly to the web hosting companies to offer them the tools directly.
Parallels website says that, "The new integration of Google Services for Websites reduces the time website owners spend setting up and connecting to Google services. Google Webmaster Tools enables webmasters to see how sites perform, diagnose problems, and improve website visibility in Google search results. Webmasters can enable search on their own sites, embed interactive Web Elements on their pages and use AdSense to monetise sites."
For me the story doesn't stop here. Parallels is clearly making a good deal of cash out of the 'cloud enablement' market and it has plenty of customers. The company was one of the few businesses that still hosted a developer conference way back in early 2009 when the economy was as black as your grandmother's hat.
I shall dig into some customer comments and try and expand this story if I can.