What were you doing in 1999? Maybe you were following the Kosovo War. Maybe you were starting to use Napster. Maybe you were entering your senior year of high school (I was). Or maybe you started blogging. After all, on August 23, 1999, Pyra Labs launched its Blogger product, which would go on to become the biggest blogging platform in the world.
Yes, on Sunday, Blogger turns 10 years old. And to celebrate, the Blogger team (which is now a part of Google following a 2003 acquisition) is promising a bunch of gifts to users in the form of new features. Without naming anything specifically, Blogger points to this list as a good reference point for some of what they’ll be rolling out over the next few weeks. Of note on that list are a better commenting system and WordPress-style pages (About page, etc).
It’s worth noting that Blogger’s roots are deeply tied to the new hot web platform of choice: Twitter. Pyra Labs was co-founded by Evan Williams, who is now the CEO (and co-founder) of Twitter. Also a part of Pyra Labs were Jason Goldman who now runs product development for Twitter, and Jason Shellen who now runs Thing Labs, the makers of Brizzly, a much buzzed-about new Twitter client.
Biz Stone, another Twitter co-founder, joined the Blogger team at Google before leaving with Williams in 2004 to start Obvious Corp. which would eventually birth and turn into Twitter. (An interesting side note is that Williams’ Pyra co-founder Meg Hourihan, eventually married Jason Kottke, who is best known as being one of the web’s most popular bloggers.)
These days, while the web is abuzz over Twitter, no one really talks much about Blogger despite millions of people using it everyday. The fact is that as a platform, it has fallen behind the more nimble blogging platforms like WordPress and Tumblr in recent years. Still, in terms of straight up simplicity in setting up a blog, it’s easy to see why Blogger is still popular among users (and, unfortunately, spammers).