February 16, 2003
Google buys Pyra Labs

Hmmm. Google has bought Pyra Labs, the company that created Blogger and Blogspot.

"I couldn't be more excited about this," said Evan Williams, founder of Pyra, a company that has had its share of struggles. He wouldn't discuss terms of the deal, which he said was signed on Thursday, when we spoke Saturday. But he did say it gives Pyra the "resources to build on the vision I've been working on for years."

Part of that vision, shared by other blogging pioneers, has been to help democratize the creation and flow of news in a world where giant companies control so much of what most people see, hear and read. Weblogs are also becoming a valuable communication tool for groups of people, and have begun to infiltrate the corporate, university and government spheres.


But now Google will surge to the forefront of what David Krane, the company's director of corporate communications, called "a global self-publishing phenomenon that connects Internet users with dynamic, diverse points of view while also enabling comment and participation."

"We're thrilled about the many synergies and future opportunities between our two companies," he said in a statement on Saturday. He didn't elaborate further on what those synergies and opportunities might be, but said more details would emerge soon. Users of the Blogger software and hosting service won't see any immediate changes, he added.

For Williams and his five co-workers, now Google employees, the immediate impact will be to put their blog-hosting service, called Blog*Spot, on the vast network of server computers Google operates. This will make the service more reliable and robust.

Making Blogger and Blog*Spot more robust can only be a good thing, that's for sure. How many of us Blog*Spot refugees would still be there is it hadn't been so flaky all the time? I think I would've eventually moved, but I can think of some other folks who might not have.

How Google manages the Blogger software and Pyra's hosting service may present some tricky issues. The search side of Google indexes weblogs from all of the major blogging platforms, including Movable Type and Userland Radio. Any hint of proprietary favoritism would meet harsh criticism.

That I'm not worried about. I certainly agree the backlash would be loud and sustained.

Major technology companies are seeing the potential. Tripod, the consumer web-publishing unit of Terra Lycos, recently introduced a "Blog Builder" tool. America Online is expected to do something similar, and no one will be surprised if Yahoo and Microsoft do the same. Are more buyouts of blog toolmakers in the offing?

I sure won't begrudge the Trotts any riches they may get from a sugar daddy buyout, but if that does come to pass I certainly hope that they'd stay on and continue being the vision behind MT. Though she doesn't discuss their own existential future, Mena Trott has some thoughts on this deal on their Six Apart weblog.

Via Gary Farber.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 16, 2003 to Technology, science, and math | TrackBack

Google + Blogger = Go_Ogle, the Mother of All Online Dating Sites

Here's how I think it will happen:

First, Google will improve the searchability of the "blogosphere" by making it easy for bloggers to append a file containing information about themselves and their blogger friends. This information will be encoded in an RDF dialect called FOAF (Friend of a Friend).

Soon after, it will start to dawn on people that the FOAF file is effectively a static online profile, while the associated blog is akin to a living profile (in the 'living document' sense).

One tipping (i.e. inflection) point later, usage of Google by date seekers will grow to an such extent that our (grand)children will read about it in their history texts. Online dating is at 26M users and growing, after all.

Google will then acquire the best RDF query toolmakers and launch Go_Ogle, the mother of all online dating sites.

Once Go_Ogle is in place, the possibilities are absolutely mind-googling :^)

More on this, including a pointer to foundational code for GPLed Go_Ogle, at www.opportunityservices.com.



Frank Ruscica

The Opportunity Services Group :: Have Fun to Get Ready

Posted by: Frank Ruscica on February 19, 2003 12:38 PM