A series of unfortunate events hobble Blogger

Google's Blogger experienced outages and sluggish performance in recent days, continuing weeks of problems

Google's Blogger has experienced availability problems in recent days, continuing a series of mishaps that began several weeks ago.

Between Wednesday of last week and Thursday of this week, Blogger suffered several outages and periods of sluggish performance, along with some planned downtime for maintenance, according to the Blogger Status site, where Google informs users about Blogger system issues.

Blogger's persistent woes have prompted industry analysts and users to urge Google to strengthen the service's security and infrastructure, and to tighten up administration policies. Blogger's problems reflect poorly on Google as a whole and can erode people's confidence on the company and affect its brand, critics say.

The problems of the past week prompted a Blogger official to post an apologetic note to users on Thursday on Blogger Buzz, the service's official blog.

"It's been a Murphyesque cavalcade of power failures, file server trouble, and wonky network hardware, and I hope you'll believe me when I say that the Blogger staff is even more sick of it than you are," the note reads.

To improve the situation in the short term, Google is upgrading Blogger's hardware and stepping up its system monitoring. Part of Blogger's availability problems stem from the fact that the service runs on essentially the same infrastructure it had when Google bought its parent company Pyra Labs in early 2003. Despite upgrades and expansions "we've more than out-grown it," the post reads. "The new version is ground-up more scalable and less error-prone."

Long-term, Google is testing a new version of Blogger that runs on a more stable platform with "Google-quality reliability," the post reads. That new version, which is in a limited public test, hasn't been affected by the recent availability problems, although it did crash on Oct. 1.

In tune with the upcoming Halloween celebration, October has been a hair-raising month for Blogger and its Blogspot hosting platform. Last week, a Google employee mistakenly posted information to Blogger Buzz that she had intended to publish in her personal blog, creating an embarrassing situation that set tongues wagging in the blogosphere.

Two weeks ago, Blogger suffered an outage that kept both Blogger.com and the Blogspot hosting service offline for two hours, along with the many official Google blogs hosted on that platform. Google said a "network malfunction" caused the outage.

Earlier this month, a hacker broke into Google's main official blog, which is hosted on Blogger. The intruder posted a false message saying that the company had decided to cancel a joint click-to-call advertising project with eBay Inc. Although Google patched the hole, the message caused much confusion among many Google watchers.

In March, Google staffers deleted the main official Google blog by mistake and someone unaffiliated with the company briefly took control of the Web address.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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