Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Before There Was Twitter, There Was Blogger. And It

Before There Was Twitter, There Was Blogger. And It’s Turning 10.
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by MG Siegler on August 17, 2009
What were you doing in 1999? Maybe you were following the Kosovo War. Maybe you were starting to use Napster. Maybe you were entering your senior year of high school (I was). Or maybe you started blogging. After all, on August 23, 1999, Pyra Labs launched its Blogger product, which would go on to become the biggest blogging platform in the world.
Yes, on Sunday, Blogger turns 10 years old. And to celebrate, the Blogger team (which is now a part of Google following a 2003 acquisition) is promising a bunch of gifts to users in the form of new features. Without naming anything specifically, Blogger points to this list as a good reference point for some of what they’ll be rolling out over the next few weeks. Of note on that list are a better commenting system and WordPress-style pages (About page, etc).
It’s worth noting that Blogger’s roots are deeply tied to the new hot web platform of choice: Twitter. Pyra Labs was co-founded by Evan Williams, who is now the CEO (and co-founder) of Twitter. Also a part of Pyra Labs were Jason Goldman who now runs product development for Twitter, and Jason Shellen who now runs Thing Labs, the makers of Brizzly, a much buzzed-about new Twitter client.
Biz Stone, another Twitter co-founder, joined the Blogger team at Google before leaving with Williams in 2004 to start Obvious Corp. which would eventually birth and turn into Twitter. (An interesting side note is that Williams’ Pyra co-founder Meg Hourihan, eventually married Jason Kottke, who is best known as being one of the web’s most popular bloggers.)
These days, while the web is abuzz over Twitter, no one really talks much about Blogger despite millions of people using it everyday. The fact is that as a platform, it has fallen behind the more nimble blogging platforms like WordPress and Tumblr in recent years. Still, in terms of straight up simplicity in setting up a blog, it’s easy to see why Blogger is still popular among users (and, unfortunately, spammers).
Update: As as Faridur notes in the comments, current Twitter Creative Director Douglas Bowman also worked on the Blogger team back in the day.

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Personal finance tracking site added a bunch of new budgeting and trending features today. Mint presents consumers with a financial dashboard based on spending and income data from their bank, credit card, and other financial accounts. It expanded its charts to include spending over time, income history, asset allocation, and net worth over time.
You can now plan for irregular expenses such as property taxes, auto insurance, or vacations. Budgeted items can be rolled over into the next month if they haven’t been used up, and Mint now figures out your income based on your paycheck. It takes all of this data and projects your savings or shortfall over time.
All of these new features will be appreciated by Mint’s 1.4 million registered (and 550,000 active) users, but they also point to a new direction for the site: bookkeeping for small businesses.



TwitVid, the easy way to share videos straight to Twitter, released the first video Twitter application on the Blackberry App World for free. [App World URL] TwitVid will easily allow users to upload video from their mobule phones to TwitVid, just like in the iPhone application.
With the BlackBerry TwitVid application, TwitVid hopes to expand its overall market share for video sharing on Twitter. When atebits released Twitter for Mac, they partnered with ImageShack, the guys behind yFrog, to bring video recording integration into Tweetie. It doesn’t look like Tweetie will be adding Twitvid anytime soon, although the two are “in talks.”
But TwitVid did announce two new partnerships with other mobile Twitter apps; one with UberTwitter, and the other with Twitterrific from The Icon Factory. With both applications, TwitVid is the default video uploading service. UberTwitter recently started putting advertising in its app, which was the most popular Blackberry application for Twitter, until its received quite the backlash from the community.
A number of celebrities have also started using TwitVid as well, including Dane Cook, Mary J Blige, Ciara, Chris Daughtry, Baron Davis, Al Yankovic, David Blaine, Greg Grunberg, Stephen Fry and Dwight Howard, to name a few.
Co-Founder and COO of TwitVid, Mo Al Adham, mentioned that over the past month, the number of videos uploaded to the site have increased more than 17x, and the number keeps growing. TwitVid hopes to become one of the main options for uploading video to Twitter.