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August 23, 2006

Blogger Turns Seven

Seven years ago, on August 23, 1999, Pyra Labs gave birth to Blogger, a publishing system that will redefine the web. Back then, Evan Williams (co-founder of Pyra Labs, now CEO at Odeo), was very happy to announce the news:

"We just launched a cool new tool at Pyra. It's called Blogger. It's an automated weblog publishing tool. Unlike Pitas, which, don't get me wrong, is cool, Blogger FTP's your updated weblog page to your own server after each post. This means you can have everything "under the same roof," as Jack put it the other day. You retain complete control. In fact, no one even has to know you're using Blogger. It just makes your life simplier. Check it out. (Coming soon: Automated XML channel creation.)"

In February 2003, Google buys Blogger and rewrites the platform, adding new features and removing the premium ad-free service. Now Blogger is in the middle of a new upgrade.

Meanwhile, both co-founders leave Pyra Labs (Meg Hourihan in 2001, Evan Williams in 2004), and now Jason Goldman leaves Google too. It's really interesting to read their motivations.

"For me, it's a little under 20% of this life on Earth. And it's the time when I find myself thinking a lot about a particular question: What should I do next?

I'm not sure what the answer to that question is, but I've decided it's something different than I do now. And I need some perspective to answer it. So, I've to move on. I.e.: As of this Friday, I will no longer be employed by Google.

Yes, I'm leaving my baby (or is it an adolescent by now?), in the hands of an awesome team we've compiled over the last few years. And I'm taking some time off to think.

I've always dreamed of creating something that lived on, while letting me go create something new, creating things having always been my passion. During the bad times, though I considered it, I couldn't leave because Blogger wouldn't live on. During the good, I just wasn't ready. Now, I'm ready. And, while it's not easy, it's incredibly fulfilling."

Jason Goldman describes the best the power of a such a simple way of expression:

"I struggle with excessive skepticism and in many ways would be a natural blog-hater were it not for the fact that, to me, it's undeniably awesome that people can so easily put their profound, profane, revolutionary and ridiculous thoughts online. To me, this is so obviously the fullest expression of why the web is the most important invention of our lives."


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