Saturday, July 30, 2011

Enabling Blogger on Google Apps domains

For Google Apps accounts, access to Blogger is controlled by the domain administrator.  This article shows why domain administrators may want to turn off Blogger access, for their domains - and describes how to enable Blogger access if required.

Blogger and Google Apps Domains

MediaWiki-blokiPreviously I've described Google Accounts,  the difference between Google and Google Apps accounts, and the work being done to resolve conflicting accounts.  

People who have Google accounts can use Blogger by going to   But for Google Apps account users, access to Blogger is controlled by the domain administrator.  There are reasons why domain administrators may not want their users to have Blogger.    But there may be times when it is appropriate, so this post shows how to enable Blogger access, too.

Why limit Blogger access:

Reasons why domain administrators (from commercial companies at least) might not want to allow their users to use Blogger with their domain account, include:
  • It doesn't feel like work:
Other Google products accessed with domain accounts can be set to use the domain-owner's logo.  So they look like a company tool, even though they're provided by Google.   This reminds people that they should only use the accounts to do things that are appropriate "at work".   But Blogger cannot (currently) be set up in this way - people who are using it may forget that they are using a work / organisation tool, and may be tempted to publish personal material using the account.
  • Access control:
Firstly, there is currently no way to use Blogger to publish a blog that can be read by everyone using the domain, and not seen by anyone outside it.    This means that Blogger cannot be used for company businesses that should not be shared outside the company.    (The closest option in Blogger is to set up a private blog and invite people to read it - but there is a maximum of 100 invitations ever, and besides this option does open some security holes.)
  • What happens when people leave
In well-managed companies, when a person leaves their domain account is deleted (perhaps after a month or two, in case they come back).    If someone has made a document or blog using domain account, and that domain account is deleted, then it's likely that the document or blog will be deleted too.   This isn't such a big deal for documents:  they can be transferred to other accounts.    But even though there is a procedure for transferring ownership of blogs, there are some items commonly found inside blogs (eg pictures, videos) that cannot be transferred given the tools that Google offer at the moment.

No Blogger access at all

There may be times when it is appropriate to allow people to access Blogger through your domain accounts.

Currently, this is all-or-nothing:  either you give access to everyone or no one.   Google Apps doesn't have a way to let you give access to small group of your users.

Alarm Clock 3 If you want to give access, follolw the  procedure outlined below.    However note that it's possible to turn access off again as quickly as it was turned on.   If you do need to allow access to let a person "rescue" a blog that is attached to a domain account, it should be easy enough to arrange a limited time with them, during which they can log on, and at least give another, non-domain, account administrator access to the blog.

Also, this isn't about blocking all access to from the workplace.   It's only about what people can do with their "company" domain account.   If someone really wants to use Blogger at work and/or for work purposes, they can still set up a separate Google account and use that for Blogger (provided the overall security policies let them do so).    This account is an asset that needs to be managed (just like their office keys, credit card, work mobile, official Twitter account, Facebook page access, etc) - it's just not inside your domain.

How to turn on Blogger access in your domain

  1. Go to the Google Apps control panel, and sign in to the domain-management function.
  2. Log in, using an account with domain administration rights.

  3. Go to the Organization & Users tab
  4. Switch to the Services sub-tab
  5. Scroll down to the Other Google Services category
  6. Note the Terms of Service issue described on the screen - only continue if this does not cause a problem for your company etc.
  7. Find Blogger in the list   (it's currently 2nd in my list, so easy to find).
  8. Click the On button beside Blogger, so it goes green.

  9. Click the Save changes button at the bottom of the list.

This will allow every user in your domain to use Blogger, by logging in to with the domain account that you set up for them.

Related Articles

Procedure for transferring blog wnership

Understanding Google accounts

The difference between Google and Google Apps accounts

Resolving conflicting Google and Google apps accounts.

Restricting your blog's readers isn't as secure as you'd imagine

Setting up your custom domain

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