Google snaps up blog company

Search powerhouse Google has snapped up Pyra Labs, the company behind Web log site Blogger, giving it a boost in both Web content and services.

The acquisition, which was disclosed in a posting on the Blogger site over the weekend, will also allow Google to leapfrog into the burgeoning Web log market, which has been gaining steam recently as increasing numbers of Net users discover the ease of use and flexibility that the online publishing medium affords them. Web logs are Web pages made up of short, frequently updated posts, much like a diary.

Four-year old Pyra Labs, which is based in San Francisco, has managed to make a significant foothold in Web logging -- also known as "blogging" -- growing its base of registered users to over a million. The basic service is free, although the company does have a premium version.

Although the terms of the deal were not revealed, Pyra founder Evan Williams wrote in a blog posted to Blogger that "it wasn't a case of needing to sell, we were doing well and getting better." He added that the acquisition would mean " great things" for Blogger and its users, however, and that new offerings are in the works.

Evans will now be working for Mountain View, California, Google as it adds Web logs to its growing cache of Web offerings, including content, image and sale searches, news, a toolbar and translation tools.

The deal comes two weeks after Spanish search rival Terra Lycos SA announced that it was adding blogging to its host of services.

The adoption of Web logging tools by major players like Google and Terra Lycos reflect the medium's growing popularity as a way to quickly and easily publish to the Web. While several blog services currently available on the Web are free, it will be interesting to see how the big name sites use their large audience and deeper pockets to build new, premium Web log tools.

Pyra Labs' move under Google's umbrella was not an easy decision, according to Evans, however. The blog company founder said in his post that it was a difficult decision given his "fiercely independent nature."

"I was only convinced with brainstorming with our people and their people about why and how we could do much cooler things for our users and the Web at an incredibly large scale by being part of Google," he wrote.

Google was not immediately available to comment on its prospects for the deal.

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Scarlet Pruitt

IDG News Service
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