The last couple of weeks I've been nibbling away at a new approach to staging knowledge portals by staging a pilot through Google Sites. It's the anti-intranet. It's the thousand tiny SharePoints of light. It's not proprietary although it is password protected. It's a portal into something larger -- not smaller than the sum of its hyperlinks. No one needs an encryptocard or a secret handshake other than the invite to join.
The one frustration is that the so-called scripts that pass for gadgets are as erratic as a unexpected and unwelcome one-two patch on a Windows update. I must have toyed with a half-dozen customizable RSS interfaces. They all fell apart the minute I went into tweak them. That's my kneejerk response to the false positives pouring from references to Obama that include neither 'government' nor 'politics.' (Talk about departing from false positives as usual).
The ticker display widgets, especially from one source called SaneBull are a hearty lot. The driving directions from MapQuest won't drain the batteries on your GPS compass. I am in awe of the Google spreadsheets that sing and dance or cry and mope depending on the market gyration du jour. It's also a guilty pleasure to be searching on filetype and trolling for all these "kickass PowerPoints." That's not my emotional connection but those of the consultants who respirate, perspire and dream in slideware. The punch line is that it's public domain presentations so the getting something for nothing buzz lasts a lot longer than the going rate on RSS feeds.
The nicest part about cloud computing for builders and users alike is that you've replaced Little IT with Big Google. And there are no bruised egos, server crashes, or even pink slips -- how beneficent can Google be?