Blur Circle

Steve Yost's weblog
February 27, 2003
Blogger / Google : Good Bloogle

Starting with David's JOHO item on Google's acquisition of Pyra/Blogger, I've been reading other commentary. I've also read cautionary posts in several places about Google's potential abuse of its near-monopoly power.

How about speculating on the good things that could come out of this acquisition? Both Google and Blogger have a large share of the market they serve. This gives them the power to effectively propose and implement standards. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say they'll do this in a open way. Even so there's what I might call the Maxim of Aggregate Power Limits:

Given a market involving the mass exchange of information or materials, any entity with enough market share to create a de-facto standard exchange format naturally incurs enough consumer distrust (due to its dominance) to limit its power to create a formal standard independently.
We know that Google's ranking policy is influenced by weblogs because of their highly inter-linked structure, and that some webloggers are quite influential in the rankings because of their prominent place in the natural Pareto distribution of blogroll and other links. Could search engine results be made even more effective by formalizing the structure of weblogs and other related entities? Here are some areas of standardization that the Google/Blogger combination could ultimately produce (again, we hope it's an open process of standard creation):
  • A weblog format standard
    The standard would define markup for the well-defined parts of a weblog, minimally: the posts, including author and date for each; the blogroll area, containing links to other weblogs. Given this, Google and other search engines could more effectively spider and index weblogs. But it could go further, with standard categories for posts: e.g. movie-review, book-review, auto-dealer-review, political-rant, lazyweb-request. Search engines could create their own channels using these categories, and (if desired) target ads or do more elaborate partnering.
  • Blog topics
    or Ridiculously Easy Group Forming or just Group Forming. This is related to categorization of posts, mentioned above. Could this tie in well with Google Groups, or do they want to keep that as simply skin over Usenet?
  • Blog threads
    i.e. a standard for a defining a threaded conversation among blog posts. We've been discussing that here and elsewhere. Search engines could intelligently spider weblogs to generate the threads and provide a nice interface for traversing them. This would be a benefit for blog readers. Could it benefit search engines by improving ad targetting?Others? What do you think?

    February 27, 2003 08:59 AM