Tuesday, February 25, 2003

So why did Google buy Blogger?

Pyra’s servers. As a former search engine worker, the answer seemed pretty obvious: The deal’s terms made it more attractive for Google to buy rather than build a blog-scraping system to improve their search results. Automatically scoring human behavior on the Internet is Google’s core competency, and high-availability Web services are one of their strengths. By hosting Pyra’s servers at Google (the one part of the plan actually acknowledged by both companies), the company can incorporate the latest postings from thousands of human link hunters into both its database and scoring system, all with the goal of serving better results to its search customers. [Paul Boutin]

I think this is about right. In fact, it’s about the only commentary on the Google/Blogger deal that makes much sense to me. Google wasn’t buying revenues, and they certainly weren’t buying content. And the paranoid claims that they were buying Blogger to lock out every other blogging app seemed, well, dumb.

But Paul nails it – Blogger users will systematically improve Google’s PageRank algorithm. And since Google already has an API, I’m willing to bet that they’ll make this extensible to systems like Radio and Movable Type. Of course, there will be advantages to using Blogger – instant updates, etc. But that’s all part of competition.

From my perspective, I’m really hoping that this raises the profile of blogging apps on the corporate software radar screen. This market is thirsty – actually, it’s downright parched – for some bulletproof software to show up and deliver a UI and a platform that will bring this to the masses. (Hint – Blogger may have the market cornered for idiot-proof blogging, but a resource-friendly Radio plus ActiveRenderer plus LiveTopics plus a search engine – and you’ve got a pretty compelling corporate app. Add in some functionality already in Movable Type – More Like This, TrackBack, Friend of a Friend - and you’re there.)

Bottom line – this acquisition should raise the bar for the other players in the market. That’s good.

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