Google Buys JotSpot, Offers Free Wiki Pages

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In a bid to grow beyond its roots as a search engine, Google has acquired JotSpot, a developer of wiki technology for collaborative Web sites.

Earlier this month, Google announced that it would offer online word processing and spreadsheet applications to its millions of Web searchers. The company also has a blogging service, but hasn't yet introduced a tool for Web-based collaboration.

Now Google has filled that gap by acquiringJotSpot , according to a Tuesday post on JotSpot's blog by its cofounder and CEO, Joe Kraus. He did not disclose the terms of the deal, and Google did not answer requests for comment.

Joining Google allows us "to plug into the resources that only a company of Google's scale can offer," like a huge audience, access to world-class data centers, and a team of incredibly smart people, Kraus said in his blog.

JotSpot's Background

Kraus and his partner, Graham Spencer, founded JotSpot in Palo Alto, California, just three years ago, but they can already boast of customers with big names like eBay, Intel, and Symantec. The term "wiki" is typically used to describe software that allows users to share and edit documents on the Web.

JotSpot has stopped accepting new registrations while it ports its application to Google's software architecture, but it will continue to support those existing users. Visitors and customers of eBay use JotSpot technology to share articles on topics such as the Web site's policies, selling tools, and specialty sites.

Kraus was coy about his plans for future changes. But the companies have already made one change--customers can now use JotSpot for free. That move could help Google retain current customers and quickly attract new ones.

In another change, Google has discontinued the downloadable Wiki Server (beta), a version of the service used by large companies that want to host the wiki on computers inside their own firewalls to ensure better security. Individuals and small businesses have usually relied on JotSpot to host the pages for them.

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