Google upgraded its Blogger service from the beta that had been in place. The new Blogger is still only available to a select user group, with Google planning to make the upgraded version generally available in the future.
Now, though, “New Blogger” — as the application is called — is only available to users that log in via a Google account. Other bloggers can still access the application through “Old Blogger.”
In general, the changes implemented smooth the user experience with new tools, such as better drag-and-drop capabilities, the ability to tag posts with keywords — as users can in Gmail — and new support for RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0.
There are new security upgrades to the service that give users more options to restrict visitors — catching up with many competing blogging applications. Also, Google said the new changes work better with its other services, such as AdWords.
Tying It Together
It is understandable that Google would link Blogger to other products in its platform, Charles King, principal of Pund-IT Research said. “It increases the quality of other Google applications as well as the Google brand,” he told TechNewsWorld.
Linking Blogger upgrades to Google e-mail accounts should also increase Google’s traction in the blogsphere — not that Google is in serious need of exposure, he added. “If the only way to get the new features is to become a Gmail user — which is free — more people will sign up just for that reason,” he explained.
The Beginning of the End?
Google is rolling out its upgraded application amidst speculation that blogging is about to peak as a pastime. Gartner recently predicted that 2007 would be the year that blogging begins to level out with about 100 million blogs remaining active. Thus far, the consulting firm noted, some 200 million bloggers have discontinued or abandoned their Web journals.
Few, though, expect to see blogging disappear completely anytime soon. “Blogging is a strange phenomena,” King said. “Its popularity is undeniable, but where it sits in the marketplace and among consumers is unclear.”
Indeed, blogs are as diverse as their writers, focusing on just about any subject imaginable for any motive possible. Political blogs, for instance, have been credited with playing significant roles in the past two election cycles. Corporates blogs are becoming popular, as well. Then there are the countless individual blogs that have gained a significant readership.
This diffuse model is another reason for Google to link Blogger to its larger platform, King claimed. “It is smart to link its incremental improvements to its other services rather than emphasizing it as a stand-alone value point.”