I do not consider myself a shill for Google. I've never warmed to their social implementation (+Rusty hasn't been touched in at least 2 year at this point), and I take most of their tooling and search platforms for granted. I also tend to be critical of apps they produce that aren't perfect, regardless of the complexity (Google Hangouts, most recently).
With that said, let me now spend a moment telling you how dreadfully simple it was to get a website up and running, backed by Google. My original intent was to register a domain, get some free hosting from heroku, and create a blog site using octopress or something similar.
Using Google's search engine, I had found several pages that detail the process for getting up and running. When I searched for domain registration, I was surprised to find that Google offered a registration service (note that I used "best domain registrar" as my search criteria). The service is currently in beta, but seems really stable and fully functional. Within a few minutes I'd registered my vanity domain (for $12, paid from Google Wallet) and set up email forwarding.
I was next presented with some options for hosting/powering my site. At this point, I asked myself a critical question: am I going to be doing more in-depth stuff than blogging? The answer was "no" in the relatively short term. Google offered several choices for website engines, including Weebly (which I've used before and like). I decided to use Blogger (also owned by Google) as my site's engine. Blogger offers free hosting and services for simple sites like this one. Weebly has a small monthly fee, but at this point Blogger does everything I need.
After that, all that was left was customization and content. Within half an hour, I had a fully armed and operational website, and it was mostly thanks to Google (and their wholly-owned subsidiaries). This was a great experience, and for once I have nothing but good things to say about Google. Nice work, evil empire! :-)
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