Google hasn't really cared about Blogger since the start. The search engine company bought Pyra Labs, maker of Blogger, on a whim, after Sergey Brin ran into Evan Williams and thought what he was doing was cool. The blogging platform, like many acquisitions and whimsical internal projects, has always had to wait in line for engineering time. Google's hardcore techies don't really get blogs. The product's interface has been cleaned up, and reliabilty improved, but the functions have been neglected. And now there's a new charge to the indictment.
Jason Goldman quit as product manager of Blogger, back in August. That happens. He'd been working at Google for more than three years, he was nearly fully vested, and he wanted to travel. The APM — or assistant product manager — is supposed to be pretty good. But Goldman's role has been left unfilled for nearly three months, and no word on a permanent successor. Sure, it's hard to find technically and managerially competent PMs, but it looks as if Google HR can't really be bothered.
Does it matter? Blogger seems to be holding its own against competitors such as Myspace and Livejournal. (Health warning: bogus Alexa numbers behind that link.) One could argue that the blogging platforms often fail by adding too many features; Blogger's virtue was always its simplicity. Blogger has benefited from integration with Picasa, which makes it easy to upload photos to a weblog.
But Blogger could be so much more. Since the long-term competitor is Myspace, how about enhanced friending, to allow bloggers to see what's new on their favorite blogs. That's not too complicated, is it? At the very least, Google ought to be able to index the Blogger content as soon as it's posted, to allow for search as close to realtime as possible. I always thought that the thinking behind the initial acquisition. Turns out there wasn't much thinking at all. If Google's not serious about Blogger, let some other company make the most of it.