Citizen journalists were unable to update their weblogs yesterday after Google’s Blogger and Blogspot hosting services went offline for two hours.

A "network malfunction" caused the outage, Google said in a short note posted on Blogger Status, a site where the company informs users about Blogger system issues.

No data was lost during the outage. "We know how important Blogger is to our users, so we take issues like this very seriously," a Google spokeswoman wrote via email.

Mark Nolan began using Blogger to host a personal blog about soccer about two months ago, and is disappointed with the platform's reliability so far. "This isn't what you'd expect from an operation like Google. It's embarrassing in my opinion," Nolan said.

Although all hosting providers experience down time, the Blogger situation is reaching unacceptable levels, said Nolan, who works as director of TXT Media Ltd. "Google should concentrate on improving Blogger's reliability and not on adding new features," Nolan said.

Google acquired Blogger in early 2003 when it bought Pyra Labs. At the time, Blogger was considered a leader of the blogging revolution. However, since then, Google has been criticised by some for being slow to enhance and upgrade the pioneering service.

For example, Google is now testing features for Blogger such as the ability to categorise entries with labels and to control access to blogs that other services implemented long before. For a long time, Blogger lacked native image uploading, a feature widely available from competitors.