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Why Google really bought Blogger
I admit, I didn't quite see it at first. I was confused, even perplexed. Sure, I had some thoughts, but I doubted them, cool as they sounded. I read other peoples thoughts, too — about the Memex (I, II), and the instantaneous search, and the annotated web map, and all that — but I doubted them, too. I mean, were they really radical enough for so radical a step as Google had taken? I just didn't know.
So the question persisted. Why did Google really buy Blogger? I postulated. I pondered. I puzzled. But for all my efforts, nothing. Until, last week, the pieces finally all came together. It was so simple. It was all in front of us, practically the whole time. You had Google's vaunted content-targeted advertising. The name of that other, second button on Google's front page. Their recent request that a guy who defined the verb "to Google" as To search for information on the Web, particularly by using the Google search engine; to search the Web for information related to a new or potential girlfriend or boyfriend desist from doing so any longer — he'd come too close to something very sensitive, it is all too clear to me now. The 2002 online spending report (PDF), which found that personals ads have the largest, fastest-growing revenue of any category of web content. I was on to something, I just knew it. And then, finally, just yesterday, confirmation from Google itself. It's all about "marrying a user to the right information," Google's vice president of product development told the Washington Post (emphasis mine).
This was it — they'd as much as admitted it. It's all about personals. At first, I was stunned. But the vision is pure genius. Forget plain old web surfing! Think big. Think, the biggest killer app of all time: Love. Google will become the ultimate engine for finding ... romance. Just imagine it: Every search you make, recorded by Google (and stored in a cookie for 35 years — and now we know why!) and used to match you to your perfect mate. The news stories you click on, the goods you shop for — Google will throw everything into the mix, more data about you to better ensure you find that special someone. Google already has almost everything it needs to do this. All it was missing to get into the personals business was somewhere for people to place their own ads, to tell the world (and the Googlebot, too) who they were, and why they, too, deserve to be loved.
And that's why Google bought Blogger. To realize the true, glorious potential of the Internet: a vast, global network of personals ads. Finally, webloggers' musings and navel-gazing and whinging and ceaseless speculation about life and the true nature of things will have a purpose — even if it is just to sucker some doting fool with an undoubting faith in the accuracy of the great Google into making them feel loved for a fleeting moment or two.
Here's how it will work. Using proprietary Google algorithms, Google will automatically match Google users to each other, based on their search habits and their own weblogs, if they have one. And then, mixed in with text-ads on search results pages, and sorted by Page Rank and relevance, Google will display pithy, sly and just-a-tiny-bit mischievous little descriptions of prospective matches' weblogs, each little ad hoping to lure in a new mate, softly pleading, I'm the one you've been looking for ... I'm the one for you ... I like it on top and on Sunday mornings we shall read the Times together over homemade waffles and imported coffee in fancy little cups....
They'll have their kinks to work out, of course. Users will begin to watch what they Google for, so as not to find themselves matched with George Costanza. People will stop sharing their computers or doing searches for friends, to prevent the kind of thing that happens when Amazon keeps on giving you wacky recommendations based on that one lousy book on proper duck-hunting attire you got your brother-in-law before his ill-fated expedition last summer. Would-be Don Juans will start multiple Google Blogs to try and maximize their chances of meeting Anna Kournikova. Spammers will offer to sell the purported Google cookies of celebs like Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Brad Pitt and ... Jennifer Lopez. And escort services will start blogs like crazy, stealing countless hits from searches for porn. (Different kind of kink, but still.)
And in the end, everyone in the world will have their own Google Blog. Google will become the ultimate matchmaker. People who meet in bars will read each other's blogs on their wireless Internet instead of bothering to make small talk. Young lovers who happen, tragically, to meet through actual real-world interaction will desperately try to get Google to match them, each with the other's blog, to confirm that yes, they really, truly are meant to be. Lonely people will Google day and night just to round out their search profiles, nervously eying the ads accompanying their results, preserving a last, faint hope that they'll be somehow different, somehow better, just this one time. We'll all live in a brand new world, a virtual Googleverse that will ultimately consume our emotional and physical lives. In 2007, the New York Times will independently confirm this, when it belatedly creates a Sunday "Google Weddings" section.
Assuming, of course, Google doesn't already own the Times by then.
Addendum (5/28/03): This study reports that you really can use search patterns to find people with shared interests....
March 10, 2003 12:45 PM
GoogleGeorge, I think you've got it!
Posted by dan on March 10, 2003 1:03 PM
Best explanation I've seen so far...
Posted by JS on March 10, 2003 3:02 PM
C'est magnifique! (except seriously I have to still say that there is no one reason they bought Blogger.)
Posted by Lilly on March 10, 2003 4:06 PM
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