As blogging gains more and more prominence nowadays and many people even view it as a threat to journalism, it’s important to remember how it all started. Blogger, still one of the most popular blog hosting providers today, was launched in 2009 and is widely considered one of the services that started it all.
The blog publishing tool was created by Pyra Labs, which was purchased by Google in 2003. Google started making Blogger more widely available and more technologically progressive, and opened up services that required subscription fees when the platform was run by Pyra Labs. After Google bought image host Picasa in 2004, Blogger gained another new important feature: the ability to add pictures to blogs, which was to be developed into photo galleries later on. A wave of new options were added the same year, and users were now able to change the template of their blog, receive comments and archive their posts more efficiently. Blogging by email was also opened up to the public in 2004, and users could now send articles to their blogs remotely. By 2006, Blogger was available in five languages and was hosted entirely on Google’s servers.
For Blogger’s tenth anniversary in 2009, Google released a number of new options, such as changing the location a post was made from or the time it was published, better preview functions, better text formatting, and better compatibility with a variety of browsers. In 2013, Blogger added the option of using country specific URLs.
With many blogging platforms out there for prospective writers to choose from when setting up, Blogger has had to keep adding new features to stay relevant. As WordPress grew in popularity thanks to the ease of creating custom URLs and the ability to use the software on different servers, Blogger no longer appears to be the first choice of host. However, Google has been pushing for more connections between the blogging platform and useful tools, and Blogger is currently integrated with a number of popular services and software suites.
Google has established strong links between Blogger and its other services. Google Toolbar supports blogs through its “Blog This” button, where users can send content they find online straight to their page. A strong connection has also been established between Blogger and social network Google+, and comments from the social media site can automatically appear on the relevant users’ blogs. On top of promoting integration between its own services, Google also built bridges between Blogger and other popular tools. Microsoft Word users can add documents to their blog by using an add-in, as well as edit existing posts whether online or offline. Windows Live users also have an app that allows them to post to their blog straight from the suite.
To further cement the idea that Blogger is one link in a chain of practical and brilliant tools, Google gives users the option to make money on their blogs by accessing and using Google AdSense. Although making blogs pay is highly difficult and the money is rarely enough to pay the bills, it’s a way for bloggers to make a little extra while doing something they enjoy. Blogger users can also customise the layout of their blog by changing the HTML code of the template, which makes integrating advertising into the site more visually pleasing and even personal.
Blogger offers a variety of privacy options for users. Writers can choose whether to blog anonymously or associate their full name with their site. If privacy is a huge concern, blogs can also be made private and can only be read by people who have received an invitation to do so. At the other end of the spectrum, Blogger is also open to blogs with multiple authors, although it draws the line at a maximum of 100 writers per blog. For those who love to write or simply have a lot of ideas that need separate platforms, one single Blogger account can have up to 100 blogs.
The blogging platform is also available on mobile devices. Blogger not only supports the latest iPhone or Android phones, but also traditional mobiles. Users can post to their blogs via SMS and even add pictures by MMS. Blogger is without doubt a comprehensive service that caters to everyone.