Google Buys Blogging Company - But Why?

Google's recent acquisition of weblog company Pyra Labs provoked widespread commentary, despite both companies remaining essentially mum on the rationale behind the purchase.

I wrote about the deal in last Tuesday's SearchDay. Now Search Engine Watch editor Danny Sullivan has weighed in with his thoughts on the deal. Danny writes:

"As for myself, I'm guessing one chief reason Google has done this is for ad distribution reasons. The Blogger network features plenty of high-quality web sites where Google could place contextually-relevant paid listings.

"Huh? How can Google put its paid listings, which are generated by search requests, out on pages where no searches take place? Simple. Google just needs to make an educated guess as to what a page is about. That's easily done in various ways. Google could analyze its search logs to see which sites in the network are coming up for particular queries. In other cases, the content of the weblog makes it obvious what it's about."

Danny also sees signs of Google succumbing to "portalitis," the fever that swept over most major search engines during the late 90s that caused them to add features and lose their focus on search.

"Google has long said it has no intention of becoming a portal, but so far, it's hard not to see the acquisition of Blogger as adding a portal feature in the same way that Yahoo did when it bought GeoCities. We'll almost certainly see an eventual option from the Google home page inviting visitors to create their own weblogs using Blogger. It will be discrete. It won't get in the way of searching at Google. Yet, it will have nothing to do with search, a giant departure for the company."

Finally, Danny examines, comments on, and skewers much of the other commentary that's been offered by pundits across the web. Notably, he points out that the two of us don't see eye to eye on the acquisition:

"In contrast to me, [Chris” doesn't see any portalization involved with the move and does see potential search gains. We've decided to settle our debate with dueling pistols at dawn. Fortunately, those things aren't that accurate!"

Use the link below to read the full article with Danny's perspective on the Google/Pyra Labs deal.

Google Buys Blogging Company - But Why?
The Search Engine Report, Feb. 18, 2003

News broke earlier this week that Google has purchased Pyra Labs, the company behind the popular weblog creation tool and Blogspot, a weblog hosting service. So far, Google is staying quiet about what it hopes to gain by such a purchase, leaving plenty of people speculating.

Puzzling Out Google's Blogger Acquisition
SearchDay, Feb. 18, 2003

Pundits are scratching their heads over Saturday's surprise announcement that Google had bought weblog publishing heavyweight Pyra Labs, but a look at the big picture reveals some intriguing scenarios for "Bloggle's" future.

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About the author

Chris Sherman is a frequent contributor to several information industry journals. He's written several books, including The McGraw-Hill CD ROM Handbook and The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See, co-authored with Gary Price. Chris has written about search and search engines since 1994, when he developed online searching tutorials for several clients. From 1998 to 2001, he was's Web Search Guide.