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Google will no longer allow FTP publishing on its Blogger service beginning March 26.

The company announced the change with a Tuesday blog post and emails to existing users.

According to Blogger product manager Rick Klau, only about one half of one per cent of the service's active blogs are published via FTP. "FTP remains a significant drain on our ability to improve Blogger: only 0.5% of active blogs are published via FTP - yet the percentage of our engineering resources devoted to supporting FTP vastly exceeds that," Klau writes.

He also says that an unnamed piece of Google infrastructure backing Blogger's FTP publishing tools "will soon become unavailable." If Blogger were to continue FTP support, he says, his team would have to completely rewrite the code that handles FTP processing.

"In evaluating the investment needed to continue supporting FTP, we have decided that we could not justify diverting further engineering resources away from building new features for all users."

On the original Blogger service - which Google purchased in 2003 - FTP was the only way to publish a blog on your own domain. You'd set up a server and buy a domain name, and Blogger would send your posts to the server via FTP. The other option was to host your blog on Google's servers and its blogspot.com domain.

Then, in 2007, Google introduced Blogger Custom Domains, which let you use a dedicated domain while still hosting your blog on Google's servers. Now, Mountain View is telling users that Custom Domains will soon be the only option for using a dedicated domain. The company wants everyone on its servers. Per usual.

"Three years ago we launched Custom Domains to give users the simplicity of Blogger, the scalability of Google hosting, and the flexibility of hosting your blog at your own URL," Klau writes. "In evaluating the investment needed to continue supporting FTP, we have decided that we could not justify diverting further engineering resources away from building new features for all users."

Klau says that Google is building a migration tool for current FTP users and that this will be ready the week of February 22. Google is also providing a blog dedicated to educating users on the migration from FTP to hosted blogs, and it says Blogger team members will also be available to answer questions on the Blogger forum and the comments attached to the new blog.

Once the migration tool is released, Google says, it will schedule conference calls to address additional issues. ®

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