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Google offers free wiki pages

Search giant buys web collaboration firm JobSpot

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

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

Now Google has filled that gap by acquiring JotSpot, according to a post on JotSpot's blog by its co-founder and chief executive officer, 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, such as a huge audience, access to world-class data centres and a team of incredibly smart people," Kraus said.

Kraus and his partner, Graham Spencer, founded JotSpot just three years ago, but can already boast of big-name customers such as 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 existing users. Visitors and customers of eBay use JotSpot to share articles on topics such as the website's policies, selling tools and specialist 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 to 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 who 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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