May 11, 2004 6:24 PM PDT

Google blog somewhat less than 'bloggy'

Google has officially started publishing a corporate Web log, keeping up with the Joneses it aspires to serve.

On Monday, the search engine started publishing a diary of corporate musings, as it seeks to promote a new, simplified tool for user Web publishing through its Blogger division. Google acquired Blogger parent company Pyra Labs early last year, when it had an estimated 1 million users.

"Google Blog" attempts to capture the casual feel of a typical Web log. "We're going to post stuff here, regular bloggy things," writes Evan Williams, Pyra's founder and now Google's Blogger program manager. "What Larry had for breakfast. What Sergey thinks of that Hellboy movie. Which Dawson's Creek character reminds us most of Eric."

Larry and Sergey are no doubt Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Eric is presumably CEO Eric Schmidt.

Despite the breezy tone, however, the effort is apparently not as offhand as one might think. In a move that seems out of character with the informality of blogging, Google edited itself in a Monday note about the Mountain View, Calif., company's recent expansion to Bangalore, India. In an earlier, more lighthearted version of the posting, Google said too much has been made out of U.S. companies outsourcing jobs in India. A later version of the note, posted Tuesday without identifying the changes, takes a less opinionated tone over what is a topic of heated political debate.

Google declined to comment on the changes, but spokesman David Krane said that overall the company is excited about the project.

"We're big fans of blogging, and we believe blogs are an especially effective way of connecting directly to people and communities. We hope our users will find the Google Blog to be informative, fun and entertaining," Krane said.

Google's endeavor comes as it prepares for a $2.7 billion initial public offering. It's also a pledge to a system of Web publishing that it bought into last year, with the acquisition of Pyra for an undisclosed sum.

Blogs have leaped into the broader consciousness of Web users because of the underlying technology that makes it easy for newbie computer users to post thoughts online without learning programming languages.

Other companies have used blogs to communicate with consumers. Mattel, for example, has published a Barbie blog to promote its popular doll among girls. Computer companies Dell and Sun Microsystems also publish blogs to impart technical intelligence.

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