Google Website Editor – TROGDOR

Three weeks ago I had a meeting online with a colleague, Paul Arlott, about a new CMS build and its specifications we are involved with. Towards the end of the meeting the conversation turned to Google and its past year of buying up various services and producing new services. We joked that soon Google will buy the entire webmaster market, not only will they have webmasters running through hoops building search engine friendly sites but will now hand them the tools to do so! We went further to say that Matt Cutts is probably listening in on our Googletalk conversation right now and getting ready to de-index us for gossiping about Google, where both Paul’s company Tolra Systems, and my company Sonet Digital, would be sent to some backwater area where we would all be stacking shelves in the local supermarket until Google was ready to forgive us.

Where there is smoke there may be fire

Getting into my studio early this morning I decided to do some email catching up and noticed one that alerted me to a thread in Anthony Parsons SEO forum titled Google’s Secret Website Editor!

And there she blows…

Sure enough the rumours have started and it’s apparently on the cards that Google will build or are building a WYSIWYG website editor that will allow for updating of a website. Following links in the site it took me to a blog posting – How Google’s Secret Website Editor Will Drive Adoption of Gbuy which goes onto discuss TROGDOR in more certain terms (albeit still a rumour). The discussion is mainly based around the integration of Gbuy into Trogdor and easy it will be for site owners with no technical skills to get a site up and running with a payment system:

This editor would be a good support to the gbuy product. Small merchants, usually web entrepreneurs with some technical skills, have two ways to receive payments on their ecommerce site:
• Integrating with the payment processor’s API through SOAP, Get requests, POST requests, etc. This requires relatively advanced technical skills like server-side scripting, session’s management, etc.
• Creating a link or ‘html code snippet’ and adding it on their webpage. A customer would click on the link, get redirected to a page hosted by the payment provider, complete the payment, and then redirected to the merchant’s webpage.

This editor would be a good support to the gbuy product. Small merchants, usually web entrepreneurs with some technical skills, have two ways to receive payments on their ecommerce site:

The second option is the easier one in terms of programming skills. And it usually entails copying and pasting code from the payment provider’s website to the merchant’s page. The task of creating and managing those links gets tiresome after a while.

If the webpage editor is connected in some way to the payment provider then it would make it much more convenient to the merchant to manage those links.

In other words the merchant would be able to create a new product (listing its name, price, description, etc) straight from the editor and get the appropriate link immediately by clicking on a button.

Payment providers have done something similar in the past. For example PayPal offers plugins to popular website editing programs to make the task of integrating payments easier. But they never went as far as creating a complete editor from the ground up.

This move should make it easier for Google to grab the rightmost part of the web merchants long tail: the many merchants with low-volume transactions.

Writing on the Wall

Could this be the end of smaller web firms building sites for smaller businesses? Will Google put a solid end to that market by making it easier for small business owners to create their own websites, well yes and no, hard to say at this point. Small business owners will probably flock to it under the misguided impression that by using Trogdor they will gain an advantage in the search engines, it will certainly be a lot easier for them and they will be able to cut out the small web firm or the freelance webmaster – for a while.

On the surface it’s a great idea that another tool appears from Google that will make life easier for site owners and persuade more businesses to come to the web. Will it put smaller webmasters out of business or even effect medium sized web development like us, no I don’t think so. There will always be a great demand for full customization, security, branding, search marketing, mobile web and other web related services. Give it another five years and Google may have that tucked away as well.