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Search Engine Google to Acquire Pyra Labs, Developer of Weblogs

February 18, 2003|From Reuters

Internet search company Google Inc. has agreed to acquire Pyra Labs, the handful of Web developers who helped jump-start the personal publishing phenomenon known as blogging, Pyra's founder said.

Word of the deal spread after Pyra Labs Chief Executive Evan Williams confirmed on his personal Weblog that his team of six developers would be joining Google.

Weblogs, or "blogs" for short, are a form of grass-roots online diary publishing that give computer users with limited technical knowledge the ability to update their personal sites on the Web.

A blog consists of short, frequently updated postings that are arranged chronologically, highlighting the latest material.

For Mountain View, Calif.-based Google, which has become a household name for searching the Web, the move marks the privately held company's latest push beyond search and into publishing.

Last fall, it launched Google News. Two years ago Google acquired Deja.com's Usenet, a massive archive of Web-based discussion groups.

A Google spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment Monday and no statement was released on its site. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

Williams called joining Google a "dream scenario," giving him access to what he wrote in his blog was "not just money, but [computer] servers, and bandwidth and traffic and the index, but [also] incredible brains."

Blogger.com, the flagship site of Pyra Labs, boasted in January that 1 million users had registered to use its Blogger software. Blogger offers a free, ad-supported version of its software and a $35 version for commercial publishers.

Several blog diarists including former Financial Times journalist Nick Denton, questioned whether and how Google would ensure equal access to all blog publishing systems, not just Blogger-based content.

Pyra Labs was formed in early 1999 by Williams, with funding from, among others, computer publisher O'Reilly & Associates, Advance Publications, the holding company of New Yorker magazine and Vanity Fair.

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