Google's Blogger platform will make its adult content much harder to access in the coming weeks, the search company has announced.

Starting on March 23, blogs with sexually explicit content or graphic nudity will be made private, the company said Monday. Google made assurances that no content will be deleted, but only the blog's owner, administrators on the blog, and those who have had the blog shared with them, will be able to see the explicit content.

Blogger, launched in 1999, was one of the earliest popular blog-publishing services. After attracting a loyal following with blogs centered on just about any topic, Blogger parent company Pyra Labs was acquired by Google in 2003 for an undisclosed sum. While the majority of content on Blogger has remained relatively safe for the average Web user, there is still a rather large contingent of bloggers who share graphic nudity and sexually explicit content on the service.

Google's move marks an important shift for the company, which has argued that the user-generated content on Blogger, including images and video depicting sexual activity, represents "freedom of expression." Rather than remove content, Google has slapped blogs with an "adult" tag if there is sexually explicit content in posts.

In its updated Blogger Content Policy, Google didn't shy away from its belief that users should be able to freely express what they want on its service, but the company cautioned that "in order to uphold these values, we need to curb abuses that threaten our ability to provide this service and the freedom of expression it encourages. As a result, there are some boundaries on the type of content that can be hosted with Blogger."