February 01, 2002

Greets to Ev

Okay, you all must have seen the Guardian story on Evan Williams, the chappie who runs this great service for free, by now. The reason why I am writing on this story is because does raise a few questions on how the content on the Blogspot can be reused, a sort of indexing of the morass of data that lies on his servers.

According to Ev, new things under development in Blogger includes tools that facilitate better surfing of the content hosted on it. This is one major issue that had to crop up at some point or the other with weblogs. Livejournal tackles it a bit efficiently by providing for listing of interests in the user info section and all the users with the same interests get grouped under it [Note: I hate the way the comments template remains the same on LJ even for paid users, otherwise it has some really great features].

But this is not quite an optimal way to deal with the issue of content lying far flung because I can list a million things I like and still get listed, while I might never ever write on them. So if Ev is really serious it will have to be some sort of Google kind of spider+AI infused rating mechanism than a directory [he does not elaborate how it shall work though, so whatever I am mentioning here is pure speculation]. And this is where the problem comes in.

It is fine with most people that their journal or personal experiences are read by a close and trusted circle, but once a spider starts digging out that data most users really might not like it. The Blogger terms of service states that Pyra does not claim ownership of the Content you place on your BlogSpot Site. Pyra may quote or reproduce small portions of your content (if you have made it public) in order to promote your BlogSpot site and/or the BlogSpot service, but only on a fair-use-type basis. , which I guess is more than fair enough as a you really cannot cringe about a public blog getting out of hand. If it is meant to be private, keep it private! But hey, if the average user were to have enough senility to differentiate between a public and private blog, we still would not be selling so many copies of the Dummies series.

But some initiative like this is badly needed and that too between disparate blogging communities too, because if you are an avid bloghunter like me you will understand that there is a lot of quality blogging that goes undiscovered. The only pre-requisite being that it should not be done without the explicit permission of the user. It would really be a great pity if blogs were to die as yet another passing fancy on the Internet.

Still, as I have been preaching all this while, if you have the money, inclination and a bit of brainsweat to spare, go register your domain, get proper hosting somewhere and have total control over your data, publishing mechanism and yes no more TOS to worry about :) [Not if you are planning to host kiddie porn on warez]. All it takes is a few days of learning some elementary RDBMS stuff and PHP. So, go forth complie your mod_perl and conquer ;)

Update: Blogger has gone bonkers again, two of my latest posts are being shown under an older one :-/ Yet another update: It seems not any more :D