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Parallels, a hosting automation and virtualization software vendor, has integrated Google Services for Websites with the Parallels Plesk 9.5 Control Panel.
Details about Google Services for Websites
Google Services for Websites is a set of tools that Google provides free of charge to all website owners. The tools help webmasters gain more insight into how their websites are indexed and crawled by Google. Webmasters use this data to diagnose issues and optimize their websites for search. Also included in the suite of services are Google Web Elements, Google Custom Search, Google Site Search, Google Page Speed and Google AdSense. Google Web Elements is a library of dynamic content and widgets. Google Custom Search is a customizable search engine that can be integrated with any website. Google Site Search is an integrated search engine that searches specific websites. Page Speed is a browser plug-in that allows users to evaluate the performance of their Web pages. Google AdSense is a free program that helps website owners display contextual search ads that can be monetized through revenue share with Google. All of these services will now be made available directly through the Parallels Plesk Control Panel.
This is clearly a win-win partnership. Parallels has added a capability that delivers tangible add-on value. Hosting customers using Plesk can take advantage of these various tools to enhance their visibility in the ubiquitous Google search engine and translate that into traffic and business. This is the essence of providing additional value and customers that make use of it will have a greater chance at finding online success. And ultimately, online success translates into sticky long-term customers for the hoster. The level of convenience is also a huge benefit with webmasters working through the familiar Plesk interface and accessing these services within a few point-and-click moves.
It is a win for Google as well. Google has been circling around the sector for the last few years in the hopes of getting the hosting channel to provide these tools to customers. Despite their efforts and the value that these services provide, Google has had modest success. Partnering with Parallels gives it immediate access to hundreds if not thousands of service providers and millions of end user customers. Being integrated with Plesk is also a huge bonus because not all shared hosters, for example, have the kind of regular engagement and interaction with the control panel that Plesk-based users have. That increases the chances that Google's tools will be used.
Why does Google want to access the sector?
Google, as we mentioned, has been getting closer to the mass-market sector over the last few years. The attraction is the sector's ownership of customer relationships. Google wants these customers to use and buy Google Apps, monetize their sites with AdSense, buy AdWords to promote their online businesses and use Google Checkout to process payments. The rationale for integrating Google Services for Websites with Plesk is a bit different. It is not trying to sell something directly to customers as it is, for example, with Google Apps. Instead, an initiative like this is designed mostly to enhance the quality of Google's search engine. The more webmasters that use its tools to optimize their websites, the more insight into Google gets and the more accurate its search results will become. The more precise the search, the more money Google will be able to make through online advertising. It is very simple math.
How else does this affect hosting? As it stands, it still does not appear that Google is interested or sees any benefit in trying to host websites. It has always been a possibility that Google, in its efforts to organize and index the world's content, would gravitate to hosting that content on its infrastructure – giving it direct access and unparalleled insight. But at this point indications are that Google is not considering this option and will instead provide tools to webmasters that improve searchability but ultimately still help Google gain more insight into that content. That might well be the easier and most cost-effective way to do things, while also letting Google preserve some sense that is not moving to monolithic status over the Internet. This is good news for hosters that still rely on website hosting for a good chunk of their revenues.
Overall, there is much to like here. Parallels has equipped hosters that use Plesk with a way to deliver added value and Google has in one move accessed a meaningful share of the market without having to expand much groundwork to do so. Parallels continues to be an organization committed to the success of hosters and online service providers. Not all hosters would have taken this step for their customers and Google should be faulted for not getting its story out and making more progress in the sector. Parallels has basically done it for them (hosters), helping save valuable time and resources. Integration with the Plesk Small Business Panel, if and when that happens, will be very interesting and could expand the opportunity for all those involved.