I've been using Google Calendar and Google Spreadsheets a lot recently. For a while now I've been wiating for Google comes out with a box, just like the Google search appliance, that does all that. Go to your company place this box in the rack and you'll have an internal copy of these applications.
It won't be free of course, but it will work easily and it will be good. It will easily compete with offers from Microsoft and the like. It will completely change the course of CMS's in an intranet environment. This is still an area where Plone does rather well of course. With Plone you can get a very sophisticated intranet quickly. There are differences, but if you throw together Docs, Spreadsheets, Calendar and Search - add in a home page that pulls all the information together and you've got something pretty sophisticated.
Which then begs the question, could you take all that and then spit it out as an external website. Would it make sense to ditch trying to write our own beautiful UI's and find someway of taking documentation out of these areas and pulling it together into one site. At its very simplest it could be a script that say:
- Grabs all events in a certain calendar.
- Grabs all documents in a certain folder.
Then applies a nice template to the output and spits out a static site, you'd have a site as good as most of the static sites out there. What you'd struggle on is things like teaser or snippets or complicated pages. But this could start to be a compelling replacement to systems like Plone. Maybe. It's certainly a curious idea. But once that Google Office Appliance comes out, if I was a big intranet or office vendor, I'd have a plan.
Addendum: I'm waiting for someone to tell me the box exists and I'm idiot for missing it.