Google and Blogger = What?

Combine metablogging and Google and you have a link bomb; such is the case, this weekend, with Google buying Pyra (and Blogger and Blog*Spot).

Putting Blog*Spot on faster, more reliable servers can’t help but be good, and I imagine the Pyra crew is happy about steady paychecks. But darned if I can figure out what Google hopes to get with all of this. Eventually, Google must make some form of profit from this move, or they’ll go out of business. But how?

They’ll obtain Blogger, but Google is more than capable of building a weblogging tool of its own. They are getting the Blogger name, which counts for something, and they’re getting Blog*Spot with a built-in client base. Still, this just means they’re getting pre-existing clients, most of whom aren’t paying a penny. This doesn’t mean they’re getting ‘content’.

First Google buys, a source of collected Usenet data. Next, it started Google News, a portal into current news stories. Now it’s purchased a major weblogging tool and host, Blogger, and Blog*Spot. Seems to me that Google is centralizing the data in addition to centralizing the data search; controlling both a source of the data as well as a source of the dissemination of the data. This centralization seems a contradiction to the ‘distributed nature of the online world’ that Dan Gillmor writes about:

More than most Web companies, Google has grasped the distributed nature of the online world, and has seen that the real power of cyberspace is in what we create collectively. We are beginning to see that power brought to bear.

Personally, I’m glad I’m using Movable Type. Now if only I could afford my own server…

Archived with comments at the Wayback Machine


Brave New World

What is going to be the future of connectivity? What is the Brave New World of the Internet going to be?

Is it going to be a system of services linked together through one centralized (but benevolent) agency? Need a service? Want to sell a service? Check into the Agency, the Agency will take care of you. Oh, by the way, you need to add this to your machine. And you need to give us this information.

And you need to understand that we know what’s best for you…and you have no choice, anyway, do you?

Or is it going to be a brave new world of content publishing and subscription?

You sitting at home passively on your machine hooked up as a dying man is hooked up to a heart machine, each beat a pulse from the great wire, delivering you all the information fit to print, at least fit enough to survive the filters.

You sit and add your own beat, with perhaps an accompaniment of a pat on the head, job well done. Why seek? Why search?

Now, just put that finger on that mouse and click those checkboxes and yes, we’ll take care of you because we know what’s best for you…and you have no choice, anyway, do you?

Put your mouth to the nipple and prepare to be fed.

A brave new world.

Connecting to the void you send tendrils out seeking others of like mind, or not, occasionally bumping into something new or unexpected in your search.

Two paths open for every path that closes, and the only locked door you find is standing alone with no walls around it. You laugh into the void as you walk past the door, continuing on your journey of discovery.


Google Programming Contest

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I’ve had a chance to look at the source and the data files for the Google Programming contest. In the last several years, I’ve spent so much of my time tweaking sites for business use — better use of the database, better security, better architectural design, better use of Internet technologies, or using other new technologies.

With the contest I’m faced with the type of challenge I haven’t had in a while — pure algorithmic programming. This is a great reason to give the contest a shot, if for no other. Developers should stop and work on pure programming challenges from time to time, to keep these down to the metal programming skills at peak.

Sure, the whole thing is a cheap way for Google to get programming expertise and buzz, but participants also get something in return — an interesting problem, and a chance to exercise the little gray cells, to quote a mystery figure.

Besides, who else is going to work the buzz better than the greatest buzz meister of all — Google?