You can now host simple websites using Google Drive

February 6, 2013
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google_driveGoogle has made a change to its Google Drive service that allows the content of¬†HTML, JavaScript and CSS files to be shared to the public. It has always been possible to¬†actually¬†store web related files on Google Drive but you couldn’t actually share their contents (as a website) with others. Now thanks to the new “Public on the web” setting, HTML and CSS files and folders can be hosted on Google Drive as web sites.

To get it working is really very simple. First create a folder and share it as “Public on the web” and then upload your¬†HTML, JS and CSS files. To find out the URL just open the HTML file you want to share and click the “Preview” button. A new window will open and its URL, which starts with “https://googledrive.com/host/…”, is the public URL that you can pass on to others. Anyone can access the hosted webpages, with or without a Google account.

There are of course limitations to what can be hosted. There is no back end processing with things like PHP or .NET, neither¬†is there access to Google Apps or any kind of database.¬†Embedded¬†iframes won’t work because of the security implications but standalone HTML, CSS and JS will work fine.

For those¬†collaborating¬†on the design of a web site the new features are pretty useful and really Google are giving away free web hosting, even if it is a bit basic. The Google Drive app hasn’t been updated (yet) to allow native Android access to these features but let’s hope that it will be.

Google Drive already includes the ability to export any Google¬†documents,¬† spreadsheets or¬†presentations¬†as HTML and it only takes a few clicks to copy the downloaded (and compressed) files into your public web folder. With a bit of tweaking Google could enable online website design and creation and add some basic HTML/CSS templates… but then why would it need Google Pages? Maybe it doesn’t… Maybe this is the first step in removing Google Pages or at least¬†combining¬†it into Google Drive.

What do you think? Will you use this new feature?

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