With WordPress shenanigans in April shaking up my blogging foundation, one alternate platform I’ve been wondering about is good old-fashioned Blogger, where anyone can still create — after 23 years! — a free blogspot domain through Google. But there’s the elephant-in-the-room question: if or when will Google sunset Blogger? I’ve tried to find a definitive answer.
The last direct source for Blogger news was Blogger Buzz at buzz.blogger.com, which now redirects to blogger.googleblog.com. Sadly, nothing new has been posted there since spring 2020. Also, the official @Blogger account on Twitter was taken private long ago and remains silent. The only other current announcements for the platform can be found on Blogger’s official help forum, though the last one was in spring 2021. The Community Forum is still active with support, so that’s a positive.
It’s been over a year since the last news about Blogger. Sure, there’s the saying that, “No news is good news.” But in Google’s case, when there used to be buzz about Blogger, crickets are a nervous sound. Is it the breath-catching silence before a coup de gras? Well, I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion because, as far as I can tell otherwise, Blogger is alive and well after all these years. Eerily quiet, kind of; dead silent maybe; but not dead.
Google for Creators
An indication of Blogger’s future — or lack thereof — may come from Google’s latest initiative. Rather than promoting online publishing or blogging, it celebrates creating. The site is called Google for Creators, found at creators.google, with an official blog here. It was announced on the Blogger Community forum on November 20, 2020.
The announcement clearly stated that Blogger news would now be found on Google for Creators. But about a year-and-a-half later, there has been none. After searching the site’s headlines, the blogging references I found were in relation to WordPress, not Blogger. That’s not comforting to anyone relying on Blogger.
It’s noteworthy, though, that Google promotes website building for creators so that they own their content and avoid being siloed within the walled-gardens of social media. But even with a focus on website building, Google doesn’t promote Blogger, whereas WordPress is clearly and directly supported. It’s like Google neglects its own child in favor of the neighbor’s kid. Again, not the best indication that Blogger has a bright future ahead.
Here are examples:
On this page for website building, Blogger doesn’t get a mention, but WordPress is clearly supported. Google says, “Explore the products and tools from Google that can help you find success as a creator,” but never lists Blogger. Isn’t Blogger a product or tool from Google that can be used for web site creation on some level?
Similarly, Google has an entire SiteKit to help with website creation, but it’s for WordPress, not Blogger. SiteKit includes Google AdSense and Analytics, which are already built-in to Blogger, so why not promote or at least mention Blogger?
Tellingly, this page dedicated to websites lacks any Blogger references. But again, there’s WordPress support. I love that Google is heralding the benefits and virtues of having a personal website online such as owning your own content, having a home base, and monetization. Yet all these are things Blogger is capable of, so why not even mention it?
Finally, there’s a Google for Creators YouTube video talking about website building. It mentions Google Domains for domain provider, and three website builders/hosts mentioned are Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress. But sorry to say, Blogger received zero mention.
Your Own Web Home
The most positive aspect of Google for Creators is found in this article. It has a brief historical review of Blogger, referring to the still running platform only in past tense. Note that it’s within the greater context of creating content online. What’s most encouraging from Google in this context is the definitive trend or push away from social media and back to individual websites (perhaps self-hosted), which is something that bloggers and indie web supporters can highly appreciate.
It says this about Blogger:
“In 1999, Blogger and LiveJournal launched their free online “web blog” platforms, putting simple publishing tools in the hands of creators (with Tumblr following years later). Though blogs were hosted on the blogging platforms’ websites, they allowed creators to build their own digital homes on the web.”
“While social media content is proliferating wildly, creators know that they lose some control over their content by posting on these sites and apps. Some creators are now shifting back to building and owning their own home on the web — a website to host their own content…”
I’ve figured if Google was going to retire Blogger, it likely would have done so already. So the fact Blogger remains in a relatively healthy condition may be a sign it will likely continue its current steady trajectory. One can easily imagine that Blogger probably requires little overhead to be maintained at this point since it’s a simple and well established platform. In fact, due to Blogger’s age, it might be so deeply integrated within Google that it would take more work to retire it than to simply maintain it.
In the end, there are no definitive answers, only speculation, hope, and risk. There’s a lot to like about Blogger, and I’m still seriously considering switching from WordPress.com back to Blogger. If I do, I’d be proud to inject a little more life into the classic blogging platform. I think I might enjoy it while it lasts.
Did you ever use Blogger before?