Google Page Creator Examination And Test Results



Notification

According to Google, Google Page Creator will be shut down in 2008 and
all the existing GPC sites will be transitioned to Google Sites:

http://groups.google.com/group/GPC-How-to/msg/1260f67111144902

Links to the test pages have been removed as this page no longer
exists on Google Page Creator. This page still exists for curious
people who want to know how Google Page Creator looked like and
features it had.

Introduction

This document shortly describes Google Page Creator's (GPC) Site
Manager and Page Editor. Then it examines some of the requirements and
restrictions. It also includes a few test results with file formats
(e.g. avi, bmp, doc, jpg, mp3, pdf, zip) and features like HTML
(tables, text styles, frames, etc.), CSS, JavaScript, Java applets,
images, and embedded objects (e.g. videos) and some instructions on
how to add those features. This page is mainly intended for people who
are interested in Google Page Creator, but don't have their own GPC
website yet, so if you are looking for GPC tutorials, see the "Other
Google Pages web sites" section.

Site Manager

When you sign in to Google Page Creator, you will see the Site Manager
page where you can create a new page by clicking the "Create a new
page..." link at the top of the page or you can select a page you have
edited before. When you have created your page, you have a few
options: you can delete or duplicate it, or you can select "Unpublish"
from the selection box so no-one will be able to see it until you
think it's ready to be public. If you have uploaded files to your
Google Page Creator account, they will appear on the right column
under the "Uploaded stuff" heading. If you want to remove an
uploaded file, click the trash can icon next to the name of the
uploaded file and answer "OK" to the confirmation question.
The top and bottom parts of the Site Manager page contain links to
resources such as to the Google Page Creator forum and help pages.

  Site Manager
Picture 1. Site Manager.

Page Editor

With the Page Editor you can for example add images, links, headings,
and subheadings. You can also change the font type, size and color.
If you want to add an image, you simply click the "Image" button
and upload the image from your computer to Google Page Creator. If you
are not happy with the current look, you can switch to another
template by clicking the "Change Look" or "Change Layout" link.
Templates define various aspects of the page, such as the default
colors, fonts and margins for different parts of the document (for
example the header, footer and main content sections). Layouts are
meant to define how many columns the web page contains. At the moment
(February 2007), you can select to use one, two or three columns. With
the two column setting either the left or right column is wider than
the other column. On many web pages people usually put links to the
narrow column and the main content to the wide column. If you want to
adjust your pages even more, you can create your pages with your
favorite editor and then upload the files to Google Page Creator.
  Page Editor
Picture 2. Page Editor.

  Templates (or Looks)
Picture 3. Templates (or Looks).

  Layouts with different column widths
Picture 4. Layouts with different column widths.

Requirements

To be able to use Google Page Creator (or Google Pages), you need to
have a Gmail (or Google Mail) account. If you don't have a Gmail
account, you should be able to get one by going to the Gmail main page
and by looking for a sign up link. Your web browser needs to be either
Internet Explorer 6 (or later) or Mozilla Firefox 1 (or later). You
also need to have JavaScript and cookies enabled. You don't need to
buy a commercial or download a free HTML editor, because of Google
Page Creator's own Page Editor and templates, but if you want to, you
can use your own editor and then upload your files.

Restrictions

The maximum number of files is 500, maximum size of an uploaded file
is 10 MB, and your quota (total file usage) is 100 MB (February 2007).
You should be able to create four other sites, so the total maximum
for all the sites should be 2,500 files and a quota of 500 MB. There
seems to be a bandwidth usage limit according to discussions on the
official Google Page Creator forum. Google Page Creator doesn't seem 
to tell what the bandwidth usage limit is, but for example for Yahoo!
GeoCities it is 4 MB/hour and 3 GB/month. With Google, when you
exceed the bandwidth usage limit you still can see the pages, but
pictures will vanish from the pages.


File formats

You can upload various file formats to GPC. Here are some of the file
formats you can upload:
Category Formats
Images  bmp, gif, jpg, pcx, png, tga, tif
Markup languages  htm, html, xml
Miscellaneous  pdf, ps
Music  au, mid, mp3, ogg, s3m, wav, wma
Packed files  lha, zip
Presentation  odp, ppt
Programming code  c, cpp, h, java
Spreadsheet  ods, xls
Video  avi, gvi, mov, mpeg, wmv
Word processing  doc, lwp, odf, rtf, wp
 

Test Results with Features

The below table contains a list of some of the features you can use
with the Google Page Creator. You can immediately see that you can use
for example HTML, CSS, Java and JavaScript with uploaded files.
There's a more thorough explanation about the markings after the
table.

Feature
Page Editor
Manual upload
CSS 1
NO
OK
CSS 2
OK
OK
Embedded object
OK
OK
Form
OK
OK
Frames
NO
OK
Google Maps
OK
OK
Google Video
OK
OK
Heading
SW
OK
Image map
OK
OK
Java
OK
OK
JavaScript 1
OK
OK
JavaScript 2
NO
OK
JavaScript 3
OK
OK
List
SW
OK
Music 1
SW
OK
Music 2
OK
OK
Music 3
OK
OK
Stat counter (image)
OK
OK
Stat counter (JavaScript)
OK
OK
Table
OK
OK
Text styles
SW
OK

The first column describes the feature ("Feature"). The second ("Page
Editor") and third ("Manual upload") columns compare what features you
can use in the Page Editor, and what you can accomplish by creating
and then uploading an HTML file. "OK" means there are no problems
with the feature, "NO" means it doesn't work at all, and "SW" means
the feature works somewhat but not totally as wanted.

From the above table you can see that you can easily add for example
many HTML, CSS, Java, and JavaScript features by simply creating your
web page for example with an HTML editor (e.g. Mozilla Composer), a
WYSIWYG editor (e.g. OpenOffice.org) or with a text editor (e.g.
SuperEdi, Notepad, or emacs) and then you just upload the file to
GPC. You can also use Google videos, Google maps and stat counters by
uploading your pages.

Using the Google Page Creator's Page/HTML editor you encounter some
problems, because you can't edit the head section of the HTML
documents. For example there are some issues with JavaScript and CSS
when using the Page Editor, because you can't modify the contents
inside the <head> </head> tags of the HTML file, and some JavaScript
and CSS features are meant to be defined in the head section of the
HTML file. For example JavaScript Test 2 only works with an uploaded
file (you can see the button, because it isn't part of the JavaScript
code), but there is a workaround as you can see in JavaScript Test 3
(see the source codes for more information). The idea is that the
JavaScript alert box will be shown only when the button is pushed,
that's why the two test documents have the <input> tag. There is a
similar problem with CSS: in CSS Test 1 the style sheet is defined in
the head section of the document, so it doesn't work in Page Editor.
Workaround is shown in CSS Test 2 where the style information is
defined inside the <p> tag using the style attribute. Frames don't
work at all, because inside the main frameset document the <frameset>
</frameset> tags are used instead of the <body> </body> tags. But if
you upload your files, JavaScript, CSS and frames work OK. Because the
Page Editor uses ready-made templates which use for example ready-made
CSS, you can only somewhat add text styles (for example blockquote
isn't shown correctly).

Update: until around June and July 2006 adding JavaScript, music,
video or other embedded objects to documents was impossible with the
GPC Page/HTML Editor, because it removed HTML elements like <script>,
<embed>, and <bgsound> in the HTML source. Now there is only a problem
with the <bgsound> tag, which is used for automatic background music
in some web browsers. The <bgsound> tag is changed into non-working
text as you can see in Music Test 1 if you look at the HTML source.

Adding features to your web page using the Page Editor

You probably want to add a feature to your Google Pages page. It may be
one of these:

   - Flash,
   - Google AdSense,
   - Google video,
   - Java,
   - JavaScript,
   - music,
   - stat counter, or
   - video

Using the Google Page Creator's Page Editor it should be easy: first
you copy the code for the feature you want to add to your web page and
then you paste it to your web page. To copy the code from a web page,
use a web browser and go to the web page from where you want to copy
the code to your file. For example if you want to copy code from the
Google Video web site, select the video you want to embed to your web
page, click the "Email - Blog - Post to MySpace" button and then the
"Embed HTML" link and the code should appear in a text box, and it
should look something like this:

   <embed style="width:400px; height:326px;" id="VideoPlayback"
   type="application/x-shockwave-flash"
   src="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=-8618166999532839788"> 
   </embed>

Now you can copy the code. For example, if you are using Internet
Explorer, select the code in the text box using the left hand mouse
button, then right-click the text, and select "Copy" (see picture 5).
  Copying code from a web page
Picture 5. Copying code from a web page.
In Google Page Creator's Site Manager select the page you want to
modify, and then in Page Editor select the section of the page you
want to edit, click the "[edit html]" link and paste the code to
your page (select the place where you want to copy the code, select
"Edit" in your web browser and click "Paste") (see picture 6).
Remember to click the "Save Changes" button and then the "Publish"
button.

  Editing code in GPC HTML view
Picture 6. Editing code in GPC HTML view.
And that's it! You are done. If you want to know how to edit your
pages with your own HTML editor, read on. It's a bit more complicated,
but you can bypass some of the problems mentioned above when you use
Google Page Creator's Page Editor.

Adding features to your site by uploading files

Another way to add features to your pages is to use your own HTML
editor and uploading your files to Google Page Creator. That way you
can have even more features compared to using only Google Page
Creator's Page Editor.

Download the original file from GPC

If you have already created a page with the Page Editor, you can
download that page, make the adjustments to it with your own HTML
editor and then upload it back to Google Page Creator. To download
your GPC web page you can use for example a web browser. If you are
using Internet Explorer, go to your page, which might be for example

   http://YOURACCOUNT.googlepages.com/homepage

Then save the page with Internet Explorer by selecting "File", "Save
As". The suggested name for the file might be for example

   Welcome To My Home Page.html

but because spaces and some special characters can cause problems,
preferably use only letters (a, b, c, ...), numbers (1, 2, 3, ...),
and characters like $, -, _, ., +, !, ', (, ) in the file name. So
in this case the file name could be for example

   my_homepage.html

When you save the file, make a note where you save the file so that
you can easily find it later.

Open the downloaded file with an editor

Now that you have downloaded the web page, you need to edit it. Open
the file with a text editor, HTML editor or WYSIWYG editor. You can
use for example Notepad, Mozilla Composer, or OpenOffice.org. If you
are using Notepad, select "File", "Open...", and select the file you
have just downloaded to your computer.

Copy and paste the code

Next you want to copy and paste the code (Flash code, Google video
code, music code, stat counter code, etc.) to your file to the correct
section of your file. Usually the code should be put after <body> tag
and before </body> tag, but it depends on the code. The web site
offering the code should have instructions where to put the code.

Use a web browser and go to the web page from where you want to copy
the code to your file. See picture 5 and the text in section "Adding
features to your web page using the Page Editor" where the Google
Video web site is used as an example.

Go back to your editor and paste the code to your file. For example,
if you are using Notepad, select the place in the file where you want
to copy the code, select "Edit", and click "Paste" (see picture 7).
  Editing code in Notepad
Picture 7. Editing code in Notepad.

Save the file

You need to save the file so that the changes will be made to the
file. For example, if you are using Notepad, select "File", and click
"Save".

Upload the file

After saving the file, sign into Google Page Creator (if you haven't
already), and upload the file: click the "[upload]" link on the right
side of the GPC Site Manager page, and then click the "Browse..."
button that appears, and select the file you want to upload (see
picture 8).
  Uploading a file to Google Page Creator
Picture 8. Uploading a file to Google Page Creator.
When uploading of the file has finished, the file name should appear
in GPC Site Manager page under text "Uploaded stuff".

If you have created a web page with an editor other than GPC's
editor, you can upload it in the same manner.

The problem with the uploading solution is that when you want to
change your web page, you need to always download, edit and upload the
file. If you keep the file in your hard drive, then you only need to
edit and upload the file.

Open the uploaded file

To see the file you have uploaded and to find out the URL (web
address) for the uploaded file, look at the file name list below text
"Uploaded stuff" on Google Page Creator's Site Manager page
(if you don't see any file names under the "Uploaded stuff" text, but
next to the text you see a small black triangle pointing to right,
click the triangle). Then click the name of the file you have
uploaded. It should be the last name in the list (see picture 9).
  Latest uploaded file
Picture 9. Latest uploaded file.
A new web browser window should open and the URL for the file should
be shown in the web browser's address bar (see picture 10). You can
copy the URL for the uploaded file from the web browser's address
bar by left-clicking the address bar and then right-clicking it and
selecting "Copy" (or similar). Or you could have copied the URL
from the file name list by right-clicking the link for the file and
clicking "Copy Shortcut" (or similar).
  URL of the uploaded file in web browser's address bar
Picture 10. URL of the uploaded file in web browser's address bar.

Offline editing

If you want to edit an uploaded file offline, you need to have a copy
of it on the computer you are using. You can edit it with an editor
and the next time you are online, you can upload it.

If you want to edit offline a page that can be edited with Google Page
Creator's Page Editor so that the URL (web address) for that page
won't change, then you will encounter problems: you can't edit that
page offline just like that and then upload a file, because uploaded
files have different URLs than pages that can be edited with Google
Page Creator's Page Editor. You have at least three options if you
really want to edit the page offline: 1) If you copy content from
Google Page Creator's Page Editor to a text file using a text editor
(e.g. Notepad, emacs, etc.), none of the text styles and images will
be copied to the text file and links will be saved as text. And when
you copy edited content back from the text editor back to your page
in Google Page Creator's Page Editor, you need to make all the text
styles, add images and create links again. 2) If you copy content from
Google Page Creator's Page Editor to an HTML editor (e.g. Mozilla
Composer), or to a WYSIWYG editor (e.g. OpenOffice.org), text styles
and links might be somewhat OK, but images probably won't get copied
correctly or at all. And when you copy content from the HTML editor or
WYSIWYG editor back to your page in Google Page Creator's Page Editor,
the text styles, links and images might look strange or they might not
work at all. 3) If instead of the content you copy the HTML source
from Google Page Creator's HTML view to a text editor or HTML editor,
then you need to understand HTML and it's easy to mess up with HTML
especially if you are new to editing HTML.

After looking at the above options for editing offline a page that can
be edited with Google Page Creator's Page Editor so that you don't
need to change the URL for the original page, you might like this
suggestion more: use an uploaded file instead (edit the file offline
and upload it when you are online). In that case, as mentioned before,
the uploaded file will have a different URL.

More help and instructions

It's advisable to study the basics of HTML, so you know what you are
doing. Here are some links to HTML tutorials:

http://www.tips-tricks.com/
http://www.htmlcodetutorial.com/
http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_intro.asp
http://www.awdsf.com/courseware/html/html1.htm
http://www.htmlbyexample.com/
http://www.google.com/Top/Computers/Data_Formats/Markup_Languages/HTML/Tutorials/Beginners/

You can also ask for more advises from the official Google Page Creator
forum:

http://groups.google.com/group/GPCDiscussionGroup

Sometimes even Google employees might answer some of the questions.

Remember to search for previous discussions in the forum, and check
the Google Page Creator FAQ and Help Center pages, as your question
might have already been answered:

http://pages.google.com/-/about.html#faq
http://www.google.com/support/pages

Who is it for?

Google Pages service is probably meant for people who like to create
personal pages about themselves and their hobbies. Some firms seem to
have also created their own sites with Google Pages, but they might
not be taken as seriously as companies who have their own web domains
and their web site is created by a professional web designer. On the
other hand, for example a small company might not need a professional
looking web site anyway.

What about spam?

Because your Google Pages site has the same beginning as your Gmail
account's beginning (as in YOURACCOUNT.googlepages.com and in
YOURACCOUNT@gmail.com) spammers can easily harvest email addresses
from Google Pages sites using automatic bots (as they can from other
free web site services also where the site name is constructed from
the email address). On the other hand, Gmail's spam filter does a
fairly good job and you should use a free email address only for
non-serious things other than your business or your job, because free
email services can be more unpredictable and have more problems. Also,
spam bots may find your email address from other sources such as from
other web pages, discussion forums, and mailing lists. One way to try
to avoid spam is that there should be a "Create a new site" link at
the top of the Site Manager page, so you can create another site,
which doesn't have the same beginning as your Gmail account.

How do I get my site indexed by Google?

To get your Google Pages site indexed by Google Web Search and because
Google has limited resources, Google doesn't index all the pages on
the web, so you need incoming links from other sites as they are an
essential way for Google's automatic indexing algorithms to figure out
which web sites are important, popular or interesting enough to get
indexed by Google. You can find more info from Google's webmaster
pages and from various search engine optimization (SEO) pages:

http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=40349&topic=8522
http://sites.google.com/site/tomihasa/google-general-faq#neverindexed
http://www.google.com/search?&q=SEO+basics&num=100
http://www.google.com/search?&q=SEO+checklist&num=100

Other Google Pages web sites

If you want to find other Google Pages web sites, you can try this
Google search:

http://www.google.com/search?&q=site%3Agooglepages.com&num=100

There are also some pages that have listed other Google Page Creator
sites by category:

http://rami.mawas.googlepages.com/gpcguide
http://www.pagecreatordirectory.googlepages.com/directory

Tutorials, tips, tricks, FAQs and other info about Google Page
Creator:

http://paul.maunders.googlepages.com/
http://martin.blow.googlepages.com/technical2
http://jvanbaelen.googlepages.com/gpcinfo
http://nataliejost.googlepages.com/
http://gpxfiles.googlepages.com/
http://gpcfaq.googlepages.com/
http://jvanbaelen.googlepages.com/gpctips&faq

Advise on security

As with any web pages, beware of viruses. Also Google Page Creator
pages have been reported having viruses:

http://groups.google.com/group/google.public.support.general/msg/4374817fa8d19a61

So always when you surf on the web, remember to use an up-to-date
operating system, web browser, virus scanner, spyware remover and a
firewall. Avoid clicking suspicious links and downloading files,
especially executable files (usually .exe or .com files) from sites
you don't much know about. You could even disable JavaScript, ActiveX
and some other functionalities in your web browser for sites you don't
trust:

http://sites.google.com/site/tomihasa/google-general-faq#saferbrowsersettings

 

 



Last modified: August 5th, 2008

Author: Tomi Häsä (tomi.hasa@gmail.com)

URL: http://sites.google.com/site/tomihasa/google-page-creator

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