RIP Aaron Swartz, One Of The Earliest Google Bloggers

I was saddened to see the news that Aaron Swartz had committed suicide. Such a tragedy. Swartz is known for a wide-range of things, such as helping create Reddit, RSS and being an internet activist. But I remember him most as one of the earliest Google bloggers.

The Google Weblog went up on March 17, 2002, two years before Google launched its own official blog. I mentioned it to my own readers soon after as a new site that was about all about Google. Aaron, in speaking to Philipp Lenssen of Google Blogoscoped in a 2007 interview, remembered it as being the first blog focused entirely on Google:

To your knowledge, was that the first blog focusing exclusively on Google?

I think so. I looked for others before I started it.

I certainly remember it the same. I’d been writing about Google since the company started in 1998, blogging (although we pretty much didn’t really call it that, then). But my writing had been focused around Google as a search company, not about the phenomenon it would become.

Aaron wrote after his first visit to Google that he was more interested in small technical features about Google than the big picture stuff the popular press was latching on to:

At lunch we discussed my goals for the weblog. I like breaking stories first, but I’m more interested in putting together all the news in one place (which I owe to all the people who send me news). We noted that the things I’m interested in are very different than the normal press. They went wild over Google’s deal with AOL, I went over the details Google’s new redirect-on-no-matches feature.

But ironically, the very existence of his blog, one entirely devoted to Google, was a harbinger of Google’s departure from being just a search engine and into the giant media and technology company it is today.

Aaron later, off the Google Weblog and on his own blog, wrote about those big picture issues. One piece I remember most was about how Google’s many benefits and campus life were designed to help employees keep feeling like kids, so they’d never want to leave the Google home.

Aaron’s last post on The Google Weblog itself was about Google’s now-defunct SearchMash experiment that went up in October 2006. He obviously went on to much bigger things beyond documenting Google, and it’s sorrowful he’s not going to continue on that path.

Image of Aaron Swartz in 2008 from Wikipedia.

Related Topics: Channel: Search Marketing | Google | Top News


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • igl00

    suicide is not exactly a tragedy..

  • PopBloviator

    Not to Neanderthals whose ability to empathize has yet to evolve.

  • Christian Müller

    Suicide is not considered as a tragedy by many, suicide is an easy way out of problems. Though personally I have no idea why he did it. I appreciate his work thought, may he rest in peace.

  • David Owens

    The light that burns twice as bright…
    RIP Aaron we will miss you…

  • Mike Mora

    Really sad such talent self silenced. Condolences to his family and closest friends.

  • Nathaniel Bailey

    RIP Aaron, you will be much missed by many!
    My thoughts go out to Aaron’s family, he was a great man, one that will always be remembered and one who’s family should always be proud of!

  • Michal Smetana

    He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man.
    It’s really a sad news that such a talent is no longer with us. Rest in peace Aaron.

  • Rob Garner

    What an incredibly saddening loss. Huge mind and pioneer in technology and Internet policy.

  • Mikayla Martinsen

    RIP Aaron. My thoughts and prayers go out your family and friends… I wish you had stayed with us a little longer.

    Depression runs in my family, I have been suicidal, and people close to me have attempted it and others have succeeded. It is a very dark place to be… but if anyone reading this is struggling to see light through all that darkness and is in so much pain you feel like you cannot bear it one more day, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! People DO love you. It WILL get better… but you have to be here to see it!! This too shall pass, I promise you. Please, PLEASE get help:

    Peace, love, blessings, and light to all,

  • Web Listings Inc

    Aaron H. Swartz – writer, programmer, Internet activist…!

  • Steve Floyd

    So sad, we have lost a great mind today. Aaron was an inspiration to us all. Big ideas and an even bigger heart. Rest in Power Aaron, you are gone but your message will never be forgotten.

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