Google has launched an improved version of Blogger, the first major upgrade to the the popular web log service in nearly four years.
"A lot of the focus is on connecting people," said Evan Williams, Blogger program manager. "A big reason people blog is to connect with other people."
Williams said that the primary focus since Google's acquisition of Blogger parent Pyra Labs in February 2003 has been on fortifying the back end systems powering Blogger, enhancing scalability and reliability. The company has also added a full-time support staff dedicated to providing free support for the service.
Today's upgrade adds new features to Blogger, most of which have been in high demand from users. New features include:
- Posting via email: Users can now publish to their blogs from any email-enabled device, including cellular phones and PDAs.
- Comments: Enables people to invite their readers to respond to blog entries.
- Profiles: Enables Blogger users to share information about themselves so readers can learn more about the people behind the blogs, and discover others who share similar interests.
Other new features include 26 new templates designed by leading web designers, and unique URLs for each individual posting. Williams said that the primary reason for creating unique URLs was to make them easier to link to.
That may be true, but it's also likely that unique URLs for each posting will make them more search friendly (see our Loving Each Other More: Search Engines & Blogs article for more about this). It will also make it easier for Google to gain a better understanding of each posting for targeting its contextual paid listings.
But there has been no formal communication between the Blogger team and the search team at Google. "There wasn't any talk with the search team," said Williams.
Google has also added a new blogging tutorial, designed to make it easy for anyone to create a blog in just a few simple steps.
In addition, Google has launched its own official blog -- see our Google Launches Official Google Blog, Not Blog Search story for more about that.
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