Integration Strategy

  • When deploying Google Apps, you can cause confusion with users if you don't make it clear where it fits into your corporation's overall collaboration strategy and how it differs from Google Docs for sharing information.
  • Some "tips" on how to integrate Google Sites with other key corporate applications.
  • Known issues

Your Corporate Collaboration Strategy

Clearly identify how Google Sites / Docs will fit into your enterprise portfolio before rolling them out to users. 
    • Will they be replacing existing systems? 
    • If not, how will they compliment existing systems? 
Understand what your strategy is and present a clear picture when you are rolling out Google Docs and Sites to minimize confusion.

Google Sites vs. Google Docs

The distinction between the two Google Apps can be fuzzy to end-users. However, the distinction is much clearer from Google's perspective. 
  • Google Docs is where you manage files. 
  • Google Sites is where you display information to others
Users should not expect Google Sites to have extensive features for managing files. However, this does not mean they can't leverage Google Docs capability within Google Sites (rather than trying to make Google Sites do it all).



Integration with Search

Searching within Google Sites works well. However, it can be clumsy for users in some cases. 

Searching on mysites page 
Make sure users understand the difference between searching the sites on the mysites page and all the sites they have access to. 

Searching within a Site 
Site owners should leverage the "advanced" features in configuring a search site. This feature allows you to configure the search within a site beyond the single-site search (details). 

It is important that your enterprise search engine be tied into Google Sites. Content is not valuable unless people can find it. 

GSA (Google Search Appliance) 

If you are using GSA for your enterprise search engine, you need to be aware that GSA has some gaps in the way it processes Google Sites. 
  • GSA will not index nor return as content, anything on a Google Sites home page. It will index and return as results all other content. 
  • Google Sites search results are only listed by title. No search "snippets" are displayed to the user.



Integration with Portal/Intranet

If you are using a separate platform for your intranet portal, try and minimize the transition from Google Apps to/from the portal since your users will be spending a lot of time in Google Apps.
  • Consider adding something like the Google One Bar to the enterprise portal.
  • Consider adding a link to your portal as part of the Google One Bar (under "More").
  • See How to Add Links to the Google One Bar.

Integration with Other Systems

There are various levels of integration that you can use between Google Sites (and other Google Apps) and other applications/ systems. What you use depends on what you are looking for:

"Out-of-the-Box" Integration

Very few in this category. They are mostly related to migration of data to Google from Exchange/Lotus Notes.

Third Party Integration

There are quite a few in this category. Check out the Google Marketplace Applications. 

Custom Integration
  • Third party developers
    • Some of the developers under "Additional Resources" on the Resources tab offer Google Site development services (e.g. Steegle.com).
  • Do it yourself development using Google's API's.
Simplistic User Integration

Using a Google Gadget, users can embed an iframe of any other website within a Google Site. (just click on "More gadgets" and search for "iframe" in the Public gadget view). See example of iframe gadget.