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It's easy to forget that more than a decade ago, when 'blog' was still a nascent buzzword, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams launched a service that would help propel blogging into the mainstream.

That service, Blogger, was acquired by Google in 2003, and a year later, Williams left to pursue new opportunities.

Under Google's watch, Blogger has gone from one of the most popular self-publishing services on the internet to a has-been in a market that is now dominated by platforms and services like WordPress and Tumblr.

In fact, according to the figures compiled by Web Technology Surveys, WordPress controls nearly 55% of the blogging market. Blogger? Less than 3% of blogs are now hosted on the once-prominent service.

While Blogger certainly isn't crucial to Google's core business, the company must have some disappointment over Blogger's decline. After all, blogging is an important market, and many blogs are monetized by Google AdSense.

But unlike some of Google's other acquisitions which went into decline after the search giant took the reigns, Google hasn't shuttered Blogger. In fact, it's still investing in its development.

Yesterday, Google announced a significant makeover to Blogger. The goal: make it a more competitive tool. To that end, Google has "streamlined [the] blogging experience", making it easier to add or edit posts from any screen, providing a more spacious editor, and overhauling the Blogger dashboard.

Intentional or not, Blogger's "fresh new look" doesn't look all that fresh if you're familiar with WordPress. Just as some suggested that Google used Facebook as inspiration for its Google+ design, it would appear that some parts of the Blogger refresh were inspired by WordPress.

Unfortunately for Google, it's questionable as to whether using other, more successful products for inspiration will make its products any more compelling over the long haul, particularly in the blogging space.

Blogger has languished for so long, and given the traction other platforms and services have been able to gain, it would appear that Google's latest blogger changes are a case of too little, too late.

The lesson for big companies that buy popular consumer internet services: it's easier to turn wine into water than it is to restore wine from vinegar.

Keeping a successful product successful post-acquisition requires continued investment, and it necessitates true innovation, not copycatting. Here, Google's handling of YouTube provides a much more instructive case study of how to age a fine consumer internet wine properly.

Patricio Robles

Published 1 September, 2011 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2429 more posts from this author

Comments (10)

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Joe Hibbs

Google really dropped the ball with Blogger, and an uninspired relaunch like this makes it look all the worse.

Still surprising to hear the 3 per cent share figure, I had no idea it was that low.

Good post, and thanks for sharing the link to the WT survey.

over 5 years ago

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Mark

It seems to me that Blogger really suffers by being in the middle: none of the power of Wordpress or the like, but nowhere near the simplicity of Tumblr. It's a perfectly good service, but I can't think why I would possibly recommend it to someone.

over 5 years ago

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Jason

I would grab blogger and move it into +1 to consolidate all your loans.

over 5 years ago

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Neale Gilhooley

I have suggested that some charitable or artistic clients do use Blogger and then point a commercial URL at it thus disguising the fact that it is a blog. This has worked well where no real budget exists and the Client wants to update a CMS (System or Software) existing.

The main benefit of this in that Google seems to rank its own hosted blogs higher than non-Google hosted blogs thereby giving a distinct competitive advantage when it comes to search engine results. So just how it got down to 3% is beyond me though.

Very apt headline too little too late, although where is the revenue for Google?

over 5 years ago

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Andrew Nicholson

Blogger eh? - the place old blogs go to die. One of my key bug bears about Blogger is the fact that they don't allow you to implement 301 redirects. Essentially tying you down for life to a platform that really isn't that good. Wordpress is such a superior product I'm not sure why they've even bothered.

over 5 years ago

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SanDiegoSeo

I think Google would be better off just starting a new project, because the name, blogger, has such a negative presence right now.

over 5 years ago

Chris Matenaers

Chris Matenaers, Head of Digital Marketing & BI Systems at brightsolid Online Publishing

I disagree with what is said here: I quite enjoy the fresh look of the blogger interface. There seem to be a few new features too...

I have a wordpress blog and they are way more sophisticated, true, but that's not what I need as a personal home blogger. I want a blog that updates by itself and requires little to no maintenance.

It's not for commercial exploitation: it's for home users. And it offers a good service.

Jason: I agree, it would be good if it would be closer integrated with Google+

over 5 years ago

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Innes

I have always been a fan of Blogger and how it works. I have also been impressed with it when you consider it is free.

over 5 years ago

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Tattoo Man

I used blogger after the fall of MSN Spaces. It was ok but then I found WordPress and never used anything else for my blog and blogs I host for others. I think Google is getting too big and just wish to own everything not so much make it better imo.

over 5 years ago

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James Robertson, Web Marketing Manager at www.venuebirmingham.com

I'm another Blogger refugee; I used it when I knew no better but soon migrated to Wordpress; I honestly cannot see any reason to use it anymore - and quite a few to actively avoid it altogether.

These reasons are around not giving Google yet more access / info over what I do online and promoting non-monopolistic companies like Wordpress that do one thing astoundingly well...

over 5 years ago

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