Thursday, January 28, 2010

Google Sites - your online resume

Several years ago, I put my CV online as a wiki. It started as a way to just catalog the speeches I'd given, articles I'd written, etc., if for no other reason to have it all in one place. As I noted at the time, one of the most popular pages on my blog was the "About Me" page (still is) - not surprisingly, people wonder who the hell you are when they land on your blog from a Google search, and they like being able to get a better sense of your background before deciding if they want to read your posts.

But putting that info online has had another benefit: upcoming conferences want my bio, or a headshot, or a sense of where else you've spoken to convince the conference committee that you really are the guy they want to invite. Now I just have to give them a URL. In at least one case, I got cold-called by someone who was looking for a presenter on a topic I'd spoken about before, which ended up being a very fun presentation (well outside my usual focus) and one that they appreciated. Turns out that putting relevant content on the web can be useful for people looking for that kind of thing. Who knew?!

But last year I'd grown tired of the wiki app I was using (PmWiki) and wanted the CV in something more robust. I decided to give Google Sites a whirl - other than a few internal pages at Google, I hadn't used it much and it seemed a good opportunity to try it out. The CV was previously at; the version managed by Sites is now at (and the old URL just redirects to the new one).

Advantages of having this managed by Google Sites:

  • No software updating. I'm sure by last year was several versions behind. That's usually a bad idea - security vulnerabilities can lead to easy defacing of content, and your resume is the last place you want defaced content - but I just never made it a high enough priority to stay current. I was lucky - as near as I can tell, I never got hacked - but it was luck.
  • Better editing interface. The WYSIWYG interface on Sites makes it much easier to add content without having to remember whether this wiki uses three apostrophes for a larger font size or the plus sign, and whether URLs are [URL|title] or [[title|URL]] or some other variation.
  • CNAME support. Like Blogger, Sites supports hosting your content at a URL of your choosing. So I was able to set up and have the site immediately served from my domain.
  • One less password. I had a separate username and password (managed by PmWiki, not the most secure approach in the world) to prevent anyone other than me from modifying the content. That's fine, until I lose the password, and then get locked out of my own CV! Having Sites manage the content means it's managed by an account I use much more frequently (my Google account), and can rely on Sites' much more robust notion of permissions.
The only downside to this system is that it's too much information. Nobody really cares about that speech I gave in 1996, or the magazine article I wrote in 1999. On my todo list is an abbreviated version of this page that's just the highlights... I'll get around to that. With Sites, moving the data around is a snap.


  1. If only there were an app/service to generate credentials as impressive as those in the example given here!

  2. gaah! another Google tool that I didn't even know existed. Thanks for pointing this out, Rick, it's something I need to check into.

    btw, shouldn't these comments let us log in using our Google identity info?

  3. Hey Steven, I'm trying out Disqus ( as the commenting system as a replacement to Blogger's default commenting setup. Disqus lets you login using OpenID (which technically your Google account is, but nobody knows that), but I'll suggest to them that they explicitly call out the Google login. Good catch!

    Sites, btw, used to be Jotspot. Probably should have noted the irony that back when I worked at Socialtext, I competed with Jotspot... only to end up working for Jotspot founder Joe Kraus when I joined the Blogger team, and eventually replacing a home-grown wiki with Jotspot's successor at Google, Sites. :)

  4. are you saying that the Google account is an implementation of OpenID, or that it IS by any strange chance sharing the same info as I like the idea of OpenID, but at this point many of us have accounts with multiple OpenID providers, and I don't see a way to merge them.

    btw, this is excellent timing. I was just starting to research wiki packages that I might add to my site. I'll be checking Sites out as an alternative.