Google's popular Blogger blog publishing service crashed early on Friday and remained unavailable to most users for about 90 minutes, the type of broad system outage that Google has been trying to eradicate from its web hosted applications.

Google acknowledged the crash in brief statements posted to the Blogger Status site and to the Blogger Help Forum.

"Users were unable to access their Blogger accounts... and some people had trouble viewing others' blogs. We worked quickly to address and fix the issue, and we apologize for any inconvenience to our users," a Google spokesman said via email.

Millions of individuals and organisations use Blogger, a free online service, to publish and manage their blogs.

Google is a big proponent of web hosted "cloud" software, which the company argues is less expensive, easier to implement and maintain, and friendlier for workgroup collaboration than on premise applications installed on users' PCs and servers.

However, cloud computing skeptics worry about a variety of issues, including users' lack of control over the performance of cloud applications in cases when they crash or malfunction in other ways.

Google has pledged continued improvement in the uptime and reliability of its web hosted applications for consumers and businesses. This is particularly important as the company courts CIOs with its Apps collaboration and communication suite, whose Premier version offers a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee and costs £30 per user per year.

Google cofounder and President of Technology Sergey Brin recently told reporters at a press roundtable that the company wants to up the Apps Premier service level agreement to 99.99 percent uptime.

Last month, Gmail, which is used by individuals in its standalone free service and by companies of all sizes as part of Apps, had two widespread outages, while the Google News site also suffered one.