Google has been hyping the success of its Official Blog this week, revealing that the number of posts its staff made increased significantly in 2006 and showing off about all the products that were announced using the site. It’s fair to say that a blog is quick and easy way to get information out to customers and partners, and certainly Google needs to be at the forefront of this Web 2.0 trend.
But Google's revelation about its grand plan to allow readers to leave comments directly on the site exposes the failings of big business blogging. No blog worth its salt should establish itself as a purely one-way means of communication in the first place, but this is what the world’s biggest companies are forced to do. The high volume of visitors makes it likely that Google-haters would have a field day filling up the comments with unwarranted (as well as warranted) criticism and abuse.
It’s difficult to see how Google hopes to get around this. Dell has a similar company blog, and while it does invite comments from readers, each one is moderated by a Dell staff member before making its way on to the site – surely one of the reasons why many of the posts on Direct2Dell are accompanied by only a handful of comments. This is hardly in the spirit of the next-generation internet that's based on providing everyone with a voice.
After started out as a way for isolated end users to express their views, blogs have now been latched upon by huge corporations as a way to connect with customers. But as it stands, we really need to head to less ambitious, independent blogs, to get to the real nitty gritty of the IT world.