Google buys Blogger: what can possibly be said about this that hundreds aren’t already saying?

It’s a milestone. Blogger service-disruption issues and ad-based hosting plan were significant determinants in driving me to investigate self-hosting… I may have service outages but I’m not helpless before them, and I can keep ads off my content.

An additional decision point was that I wanted to be absolutely clear in my publication title to the material I would post here – publishing it through a third party system, even a company as apparently altruistic as Pyra, leaves a copyright and reproducibilty hole that any decent publisher would not hesitate to drive a delivery truck through should the opportunity manifest.

Anyway, it’s big news, Google is without a doubt the most trusted online brand, and that goes far to mitigate many of the concerns that led to my selection of Movable Type. Does that mean the end for MT and other self-hosted blogging solutions?

I think it probably cuts their projected future growth, and might (if Ben and Mena see this) drive them toward developing a commercial licensing model. Last time I checked, they explicitly disavowed such a thing, specifically because they derive revenue from helping people set up the application. That’s practically the definition of short-sighted because of the way it limits their install base and bases revenue on labor rather than licensing.

Google’s extended services have been interesting to watch as they mature, as well. Google News, at first, was a fantastic aggregator of news, including news from oddball, unreliable sources that I was overjoyed to see – Middle-Eastern papers that have an explicitly critical agenda on U. S. foreign policy issues, propaganda papers, papers espousing religious kookery of all stripes, blogs, you name it.

Now, however, after much refinement, it’s lost a great deal of this diversity unless you force the issue. So instead of seeing a Palestininan paper and Ha’aretz covering the same events in that sad and bloody place, you just see the Ha’aretz link (I’m generalizing here, people, and the example is quite possibly inaccurate).

Obviously, this insulates Google from the criticism that followed the implementation of Google News, but I’m less well served by this – I want to see what people who DON’T write for a Euro-American audience have to say about things in the world, and Google News appears to have deprecated those sources compared to the early days.

This is true outside of world politics as well. As the online news editor for Cinescape, Google News was a great way to dig up stories that did an end run around the efficient publicity machine of the film studios. The studios so effectively dominate entertainment news that many days, it’s difficult to find a story about anything other than Hollywood stars and Hollywood films.

At first Google News was a reliable source for these unconventionally sourced stories – nearly as reliable as blogs. Now, however, the same stories, often from the same wire sources, are seen in Google Entertainment News as are on Yahoo!’s AP and Reuters feeds.

How will this homogenization effect – a predictable consequence of designing for-profit services to take advantage of economies of scale – affect blogging now that it’s entered the Googleocracy?