Bloogle

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Google is buying Blogger, prompting much commentary online. Here's a sample, from Mediageek's Paul Riismandel:

At the moment Google is still largely considered a benevolent company and so reception to this deal will likely be more optimistic than if Blogger were acquired by AOL or even Yahoo. Nevertheless, there will probably be those who also view this as an evil co-opt of a grassroots phenomenon.

But given that Pyra, the company behind Blogger, was always conceived as a for-profit entity–even if there wasn't much in the way of profits–this Google buyout isn't so monumentally different in essence. The only difference is scale.

Like I've argued before, the tool isn't so important as what people do with the tool. If Google extends the blog tool to more people, then the likelihood that some new, previously unheard voices will enter the mix goes way up.

With that said, Riismandel adds that "It also means that it gets harder for one voice to gain a large audience…The simple fact is, when we democratize the tools of mass media, we increase the number of voices and channels exponentially. The audience for each voice is arguably bigger than it would be without the tools, but it does get harder for someone to have a truly mass audience of the scale of Yahoo or even Salon." Not that he's complaining. "Do any of us really need a mass audience?" he asks. "Beyond the ego boost, what is the real purpose?"

I think Riismandel is exaggerating the leveling effect of blogs and other do-it-yourself media: We've already seen how stars can emerge online, though they don't always play the same role here that they do in older media. But he's got a point.

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