Sites Product Update: Better Theme Application and Domain Branded Templates

September 4, 2023 Google Sites updates to the behavior of custom themes, expanding the branding and customization capabilities inherent in the themes panel to better equip end users and administrators.

Improving How We Brand and Customize Themes

Since this is on a rapid rollout over the next fifteen days starting from September 5th, 2023, we can only deduce so much from this announcement until we have the ability to test it. However, the verbiage on the Google Sites team post gives us the idea that we can "expand" the use of templates considerably. 

Currently we can import themes, which changes all sorts of settings like fonts, colors, sizing, images and more. It looks like this update will break down some of the limitations where we saw changing themes fall short. It appears we can now exercise greater control on the page layout, including custom site width and frames.

Here are some of the expanded capabilities hinted at:

What we don't see here is a look at editing the custom theme, so we don't know all the additional settings added to this panel. As an active designer of new templates, I can't wait to dive into the changes.

Google Sites to Keep Pace with Google Drive

Google says, "these features enhance brand consistency across an organization", which is very true. We see a level of consistency coming across Workspace products, specifically Google Drive. The blog post calls out Google Slides and Forms, which in some ways has introduced advanced features still lacking in Sites (GenAI comes to mind for making images and backgrounds). This Google Sites release seems a bit more polished and significant then updates past. Let's hope this trend continues. 

Overall there is a greater concern for customization and branding, stylistic control which improves adoption and has everyone feeling Workspace is comfortably familiar.

What Else We Learn from the Announcement

Easter Eggs

How This Impacts Google Workspace End Users

How Workspace Admins & Partners Can Use these New Features

Analyzing the Included Gif Image

Here is some content used on this demo:

We have here a internal company newsletter which really does look great after the domain theme import action. It is informative to the "Cymbal Global Team" apparently. This Google Site is definitely outlining an onboarding experience for new employees as well. Good to see the focus on intranet solutions.