A blogger's plea (and a proposal) to Google: bring back Blogger!

A blogger's plea (and a proposal) to Google: bring back Blogger!
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

This essay proposes a strategic revitalization of Blogger through a premium subscription model, enhanced features powered by Google’s AI capabilities, and a renewed focus on user needs. Blogger, once a dominant force in the blogosphere, has stagnated in recent years. While competitors like Medium and substack have thrived in the ‘blogspace’, and industry-adjacent companies like Squarespace and Wix have embraced innovation, Blogger has remained largely unchanged, hindering its ability to attract and retain users.

Introduction

I love Blogger. I have used it since 2007, writing over 7000 posts in my personal journal using the Blogger platform. So it hurts me greatly the product has remained stagnant (and not in a good way) for the past two decades, basically since the website was acquired by then-Google in late 2000’s.

The Case for a Premium Blogger

Introducing a premium tier would unlock a significant revenue stream for Google, diversifying its income beyond ad-based models. This premium version could offer a compelling suite of features that cater to the evolving needs of bloggers:

AI-powered writing tools: Google’s advanced language models (LLMs) hold immense potential to empower bloggers of all skill levels. Imagine a writing assistant that provides thoughtful grammar and phrasing suggestions, identifies areas for content organization improvement, and offers personalized feedback to help users refine their writing style. Such AI tools can be invaluable for bloggers seeking to enhance their content quality and engage their audience more effectively. Enhanced editing tools: It’s surprising that features as basic as word count and standard editing tools are currently missing from Blogger. The free version of the platform should be equipped with these essential functionalities to provide a baseline user experience comparable to competitors. Additionally, the premium tier could offer more advanced editing features, such as grammar checking beyond basic spellcheck, stylistic suggestions, and plagiarism detection. Writing tutor based on past writing: Google’s AI capabilities can be leveraged to create a personalized writing tutor for each user. By analyzing a user’s writing history, the AI can identify recurring errors, overused phrases, and suggest alternative wordings or sentence structures. This personalized feedback can help bloggers develop their writing skills over time and refine their unique voice. Furthermore, the AI tutor could automatically link to relevant past blog posts within a user’s content, improving internal linking and enhancing website navigation for readers.

Beyond Revenue: Strategic Advantages

The potential benefits of a revitalized Blogger extend beyond generating additional revenue for Google. By incorporating AI-powered features and prioritizing user needs, Google can achieve several strategic objectives:

Distinguishing “clean data” from “AI-assisted data”: As users interact with the AI editing tools, Google can gain valuable insights into the editing process. By observing how the AI suggestions are accepted, modified, or rejected, the company can develop a clearer understanding of how humans and AI interact with language. This knowledge can be crucial for differentiating between human-generated and AI-assisted content, a growing concern in the digital age. Building user trust: Investing in the development and improvement of Blogger demonstrates Google’s commitment to nurturing valuable products beyond the realm of ad revenue generation. This commitment can foster trust and goodwill among users, who will appreciate that Google is actively working to enhance their experience. This positive perception can translate into increased user engagement and loyalty to the platform.

These strategic advantages, coupled with the potential for financial gain, make a compelling case for Google to prioritize the revitalization of Blogger. However, it is crucial to acknowledge and address the underlying challenges that have contributed to the platform’s decline in recent years.

Diagnosing the Problem

Several key factors have hindered Blogger’s growth and contributed to its current state:

Over-reliance on ad revenue: Google’s primary focus on ad-based income has overshadowed the potential of exploring alternative monetization models. This over-reliance has limited investment in product development and innovation specifically for Blogger, hindering its ability to compete with platforms that offer premium features and subscription options. Lack of vision and user focus: The absence of a clear vision for Blogger’s future, coupled with a disconnect from user needs, has led to stagnation and a lack of strategic direction. This has allowed competitors to surpass Blogger by offering innovative features, user-friendly interfaces, and a strong focus on the specific needs of bloggers. Engineering-centric culture: Google’s emphasis on engineering talent and an interview process prioritizing specific skillsets may inadvertently overlook crucial aspects for successful product development in creative fields. While engineering excellence is undoubtedly important, encouraging a culture that values product vision, user empathy, and understanding of specific market segments is equally essential for products like Blogger to thrive. Aversion to customer interaction: Google’s perceived anti-customer sentiment, evident in its approach to handling support requests, may deter the company from exploring subscription models, which often necessitate direct user interaction and a commitment to providing responsive customer support. This reluctance to engage with users can hinder the development of a strong and loyal user base.

Addressing the Challenges

Moving forward, Google must adopt a multifaceted approach to revitalize Blogger and ensure its long-term success:

Hire visionary leaders: All of the challenges I mention earlier could be solved if Alphabet prioritized product and engineering leaders with a clear vision of the product, who are bold enough to take small risks, and sell their ambitious goals for the product to the management. It’s quite clear the product has been served by managers, administrators who are great at maintaining the status quo who falter at uncertainty and risky endeavors. Alphabet needs to invest in leaders, not managers to rejuvenate Blogger. Prioritize user research and feedback: Understanding the evolving needs and preferences of bloggers is paramount for successful product development. Google should conduct regular user research and gather feedback through surveys, focus groups, and user testing to gain a deeper understanding of what bloggers want and need from a blogging platform. Embrace diverse talent: Fostering a culture that values and rewards not only engineering prowess but also product vision, user empathy, and an understanding of the specific needs of the blogger community is crucial. This requires a more holistic approach to talent acquisition and development, ensuring that the team responsible for Blogger possesses the diverse skillsets and perspectives necessary to drive innovation and success. Explore alternative monetization models: Experimenting with subscription models, alongside exploring other potential revenue streams beyond just advertising, can provide sustainable income and lessen dependence on a single source of revenue. This financial diversification can allow Google to invest in long-term product development and innovation for Blogger, ensuring its continued competitiveness in the market.

Conclusion:

By implementing a premium version with AI-powered features, addressing user needs, and adopting a more customer-centric approach, Google has the potential to revitalize Blogger and solidify its position in the ever-evolving blogging landscape. This strategic shift can unlock new revenue streams, enhance user experience, and propel Blogger back to its former glory as a leading platform for bloggers of all levels. By embracing innovation, prioritizing user needs, and fostering a culture of diverse talent, Google can ensure Blogger’s continued success in the years to come.

Royalty-free stock image above from Pexels.

Sirish
Sirish

This is where all my quirky comments will go.