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Google Upgrades Blogger 109

Posted by Zonk
from the bout-time dept.
thetan writes "Google has announced the first major upgrade to Blogger since taking over the creaking old platform. Still in beta, the new service offers a tie-in to your Google Account, dynamic pages, separate comment feeds, new layouts, an apparent merger with Google's Page Creator for WYSIWYG editing, integration of feeds, public/private access control and — of interest to bloghackerstag-based labels for categories. Take the tour."
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Google Upgrades Blogger

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  • Sorry, WYSIWYG is not for me. I hate pretty things. I'll stick with good ol' nano as my website creating tool.
    • by andrewman327 (635952) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @10:01AM (#15909866) Homepage Journal
      Nano? I'll stick with notepad.


      I am glad that Google has made this upgrade. Blogger has always had a pretty clean layout that doesn't get in the way of the content (are you listening MySpace?) and makes sites pretty easy to read. Ever since they announced Google Pages I wondered when they were going to integrate it into Blogger. I played with Pages and found that while it lacks power and advanced features, it just plain works. That is the most important thing. After all, most people above a certain coding ability will probably have their own sites and will not be using Blogger in the first place.


      You know that Google has come up with something great when they announce that it has made it out of testing and into Beta stage.

      • Wake me up when Google page creator lets you create directories. I am sure they have a great reason for not allowing people to do it now.
      • by generic-man (33649) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @11:06AM (#15910281) Homepage Journal
        Right. I wish I could have a web service that everyone fawned over, yet when it went down those same people would immediately understand with "It's okay, it's beta."

        Call me back when it's been released. I've used Blogger for years and frankly I don't like being jerked around with features I didn't ask for at the cost of reliability. Remember when only beta testers got to use beta software, leaving the rest of us with a presumably stable release?
      • Notepad? Notepad?

        You were lucky... When I were a lad we'd walk 30 miles in the snow to the office, uphill both ways. We'd spend all day hunched over with a length of wire and a rare-earth magnet, inducing currents in the wires to build up ASCII codes. When we'd finished we'd manually upload the files by telnetting to port 21, walk 30 miles 'ome again, oop'ill, in t' snow, eat a piece of dry bread for us tea, and me Dad would beat us t' sleep wi' a length of co-ax cabling...
      • I must take issue with you picking on MySpace. MySpace does not have any content, so it is false to state that the visuals interfere with said content as it does not exist. It is merely a contest to see how many images/videos (of your 18 year old girl alter ego) you can randomly include in your page and how flashy you can make the whole thing seem.
      • I have not used Notepad since I started using various linux distros to do work on my websites.
        For a while, I used Gnotepad, then discovered SciTE, which I now include in Rapidweather Remaster of Knoppix Linux. [geocities.com] No problems whatsoever with SciTE. I include Opera 9.01, build 400, and it is configured to show page source in SciTE. Provides super-fast editing of pages.
        Check the screenshots page in signature, below.

        I do use Blogger, mine is here. [blogspot.com] Right off the bat I had problems with Blogger handling images, so I
      • clean layout that doesn't get in the way of the content (are you listening MySpace?)

        I've never found MySpace to be about content; for me, it's always been the 'social' aspect of the site. It gives 'us teenagers' a place to be "unique", and yet still have a place to talk, a place for our "Shout outs", blogs, and even that gratifying feel of denying a friend request. It recreates the high-school atmosphere that we are either still in or just getting out of, and for better or worse, that is what we are used
    • by baadger (764884) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @10:03AM (#15909879)
      nano?

      Give me a break, emacs has supported whatever it is this article is about for too long now.
      • yes, emacs is the ultimate tool with directory browsing, spell checking, development tools, plus tens of millions of modules to do whatever else. i concur. but i still use nano for quick and dirty task, it's my equivalent to the windows notepad
        • Meh, that's what Vi is for. ;)
        • by Anonymous Coward
          So you use Nano in an XTerm? Or do you just stick to Lynx and avoid all the "prettiness" of GUIs altogether? Wouldn't something like Kate or Gedit be ideal for free, advanced text editing (non-WYSIWYG)?

          When I first owned a Win95 box, I preferred DOS edit to notepad. Then I discovered UltraEdit, and it was all over.
        • yes, emacs is the ultimate tool with directory browsing, spell checking, development tools, plus tens of millions of modules to do whatever else. i concur. but i still use nano for quick and dirty task, it's my equivalent to the windows notepad

          Yes, but can emacs tell you what it's like to kiss a girl?

          • Yes, but can emacs tell you what it's like to kiss a girl?

            I tried and it answered my question with another question, which is pretty much what girls are like isn't it? (so I hear).

            M-x doctor

            what is it like to kiss a girl?

            Are you afraid of sex?

          • Yes, but can emacs tell you what it's like to kiss a girl?
            Only the international version, since English itself really doesn't have the capacity without being offensive.

            Seriously.
    • Personally I'd love to see something like Blogger for the enterprise. We're suffering under the yoke of Microsoft, initially with FrontPage (which worked, but was quirky), and now Sharepoint (which is crazy expensive and even more quirky).

      The vast majority of customers just want to make simple web pages and upload some documents. They don't have need for fancy things (and if they do, we build them applications). WYSIWYG is a "must have" for the enterprise environment, and the Writely/GooglePages imple
  • by davevt5 (30696) * on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @09:50AM (#15909792) Homepage Journal

    I think the addition of labels is the most significant upgrade to Blogger. Now, if only I could tag my Slashdot Journal [imediaconnection.com] entries.

    I do have a question. Many blogs support both Categories and Tags. I understand Google's desire to simplify things, so I think if I could have only one or the other, I'd choose tags. Now that Moveable Type 3.3 has come out and natively supports both tags and categories, I'm at a loss as to when to use which. Do I stick w/ my Categories and leave tagging for a tag cloud and for hooks for Technorati?

    • Do I stick w/ my Categories and leave tagging for a tag cloud and for hooks for Technorati?
      When I read this, I thought to myself: "Ye gods, have we created a monster?"
    • Tags are better to facilitate searching, categories are better to steer your regular readers. Chris Pirillo uses extensive tags in his blog [pirillo.com] while Poh Huai Bin uses categories in his [sixthseal.com].

      As regular readers of both I MUCH prefer categories. If I'm interested in what one of my blog heros has to say on a broad topic I have a lot more success and fun browsing through everything in a category than by trying to figure out some arbitrary keyword.

      You do what you feel suits your blog content and organization best, but if it were me I'd set up categories. I might be old fashioned, though.
      • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:41PM (#15911027) Homepage
        As regular readers of both I MUCH prefer categories. If I'm interested in what one of my blog heros has to say on a broad topic I have a lot more success and fun browsing through everything in a category than by trying to figure out some arbitrary keyword.

        Categories also allow your users to read 'virtual blogs'. On several blogs that I read regularly, I don't have the main page bookmarked - but rather one or more category pages. This allows me to read entries on say, geocaching, while avoiding entries on cats.
    • I don't think it has to be an either/or proposition. With tags, you can use your most-frequent ones as categories. You can also keep your specific words, shiboleths and "one-shot" tags in the mix, for Technorati and other tag-based searches.

      That way, you get the best of both worlds [blogspot.com]. Of course, there are other views [csabaveres.net].

    • IMHO, tags are good for finding relevant posts. If you read a post that mentions foo and find it interesting, you are likely to follow `foo' tag.

      Yet, if I am interested in particular subject it might not be that easy to find it based on tags only. One would label the thing with `foo', another person would use `bar', or `ham', or even 'bacon'.

      Tags are subjective and associative. This is their power and thier flaw.
    • Neither.
      Upgrade to WordPress.
    • If I used this, I'd probably end up using tags as categories. I mean, you can't exactly have sub-categories, but it seems to me that if you picked seven tags or so and used them consitantly, it would be about the same thing.
  • by Zouden (232738) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @09:51AM (#15909794)
    "Bloghackers"
    That is just so Web 2.0, isn't it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @09:58AM (#15909838)

    Not just a "tie-in", but a forced migration, similar to flickr moving to using yahoo accounts:

    Blogger moves to Google Accounts, so your account will be more secure and you don't have to remember extra credentials.

    Am I the only one really disliking this? I don't want to tie all the pieces of information about me together. I want to keep them separate, running on different domains, having nothing to do with each other! It's bad enough that Google can tie my searches to my email, but when it's able to tie it together with my cat pictures and what I had for dinner last night (okay, so not really), that's really several bridges too far.

    • So keep them seperate. No one is forcing you to use the same ID for all the services, or even the same provider. There are plenty of free blog and e-mail services to use so that your Google searches don't get tied to any account. If you're that concerned about privacy, it's easy enough to avoid that particular feature of Google.
    • Not just a "tie-in", but a forced migration, similar to flickr moving to using yahoo accounts:

      Blogger moves to Google Accounts, so your account will be more secure and you don't have to remember extra credentials.

      Am I the only one really disliking this? I don't want to tie all the pieces of information about me together. I want to keep them separate, running on different domains, having nothing to do with each other!

      What? You didn't see this coming? One of the earliest (and loudest) criticisms of

  • Still in beta (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by guy-in-corner (614138)
    Still in beta

    What does Google actually have (other than search) that isn't in beta? There comes a point when you just have to release something (as much as you can do in web apps). How long has Google Groups been in 'beta' now?

    • How long has Google [fill in the blank] been in 'beta' now?

      only slightly longer than people have been asking this same question on /.
      how long does it take a slashdot user to realize that google stuff will always be in beta?
    • Gmail is no longer in beta. Google Earth is not in beta. The linux version is beta, but not the windows version. I don't believe that Google Groups is in beta anymore. Google beta is just a disclaimer so that they can change it at will.
    • "What does Google actually have (other than search) that isn't in beta?"

      Alerts, Desktop, Directory, Earth, Image Search, Maps, News, Toolbar (both a beta and non-beta version), Translate, Picasa, Blogger.
    • It's a good thing it's still in beta. I'm having a few problems [blogspot.com] with it, but I hope they will be resolved as soon as I get a reply to my bugreport. ....or else [blogspot.com]...
  • OpenID? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kid-noodle (669957) <{jono} {at} {nanosheep.net}> on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @10:10AM (#15909926) Homepage
    But does it support OpenID? Can I maintain a cross blogsite friends list? Honest question actually - why don't LJ, Blogger et al. allow you to maintain a friends lists across sites, along with an integrated feed of their blogs? I could write a blog app for my site that generated a feed from my friends across sites, but its a bit useless unless you can run it both ways. I could use a blog client that crossposted to several sites - but that's a messy unintegrated solution that just clutters up the net with dupes.. Obviously sites aren't keen on effectively pimping out their competitors, but the arguments here are the same as those for open document formats and cross compatibility in software, unless I'm missing a trick (or a whole magic show)?
    • What you're asking for is an RSS reader. LiveJournal supports RSS as does Blogger. I use Safari to read all my friends' journals in one "friends page" regardless of whether they use LJ, Blogger, or their own blog site. There are a number of sites that offer RSS reading capabilities; even Google has one, albeit in an alpha stage [google.com].
      • Google's Syndicator is a piece of junk. I highly recommend using Bloglines. I gave up actual software RSS readers once I discovered Bloglines.
      • If I wanted an RSS reader, I'd use an RSS reader - if I all I was after was a collated friends page to go with my blog, I'd be right in there with a page that collated the various feeds (as it happens, not all of the blogs people use support RSS/Atom - Myspace, for example [Ew]). The two way interaction is the kicker - blogging is as much about social networking as it is .. er.. blogging, at this level anyway. I can effectively friend anybody I like, but this is almost meaningless if they can't do the same
        • Have you played with FOAF [wikipedia.org] or XFN [wikipedia.org]? It lets you define who your friends are on your own web page using a syntax based on RDF (FOAF) or by using the rel attribute of the a tag (XFN). LiveJournal provides FOAF data based on your LJ friends; some readers like Safari can use this data to generate more links on a displayed feed.

          Also, MySpace does support RSS for blogs: this blog [myspace.com] has an RSS feed [myspace.com] listed at the top of its page.
    • >I could use a blog client that crossposted to several sites - but that's a messy unintegrated solution that just clutters up the net with dupes..

      I think you're spot on in saying that, and the dupe aspect is probably very important, but I see what I guess I would call a a multi-presence problem. If you're using blogs to keep in touch with folks, and said folks are spread across a variety of services (myspace/lj/blogger/vox, etc.), it seems like there's two solutions. One is to cross-post all over the p
    • I have a couple of Blogger blogs in my LJ friends list, thanks to the magic of syndicated LJ accounts [livejournal.com].

      More and more blog packages that you run on your own servers have OpenID plugins, but as far as I know 6A's TypePad is the only hosted solution that has it built in. Funny, that.
  • No raw HTML/CSS template editing yet, but apparently that's coming soon. The labels thing is a pretty good idea. I made a blog [blogspot.com]. It's awesome.
  • How about we lable this about darn time. I like blogger... I use blogger... It's been one of the least trashy blog services by trashy I mean I don't want to post something remotely thoughtful at a .livejournal account. Blogspot is much nicer sounding.
  • This is probably to go head to head with Windows Live Writer [live.com]
  • Blogger has had a long standing problem with ssh/sftp on non-standard ports. It didn't work, then they fixed it, then they broke it, then they fixed it, then they documented that it's not supported.

    This leads me to believe that they aren't using a standard client, but rather wrote their own, with all that implies.

    I had hoped that when Google acquired them, all that would be quickly resolved, but apparently not.
  • Blogger seems to be the source of a lot of the spam blogs that account for the stats like a new blog every half second on technorati. Does Google have any incentive to change this fact, since the bandwidth costs are minimal, it drives up their blogger stats and it brings more people into the Google ecosystem?
  • ...that say "This is an interesting blog. By the way, you can get really cheap pool chemicals at spammer.gotohell.com."
    • They already have that, to a certain extent. Just check enable "Show word verification for comments?" on the Comments setting page for your blog to put in a human test not unlike the one /. uses for posting comments.

      I kept this off when I first put up my blog and got hit with a few spam comments before I figured out what was happening. Turned on the word verification and deleted the handful of spam comments, and haven't seen one since (or any comments for that matter... but I think that's a different p
  • I read a few people's blogger/blogspot blogs (including John Kricfalusi [blogspot.com] of Ren & Stimpy fame, The Online Photographer [blogspot.com] and others), and there's something that really bugs me about their feeds: the images don't show up. In an effort to save bandwidth, Blogger has prevented all external linking, including from Bloglines. For a blog about photography or animation, this makes the feeds next to useless. The thing that gets me is that this is actually costing them more bandwidth, since I'm downloading the f
    • ...but blogger won't allow images in feeds?

      What the hell are you talking about? Blogger allows images in its feeds just fine. Check out the atom.xml feed of one of your examples: http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/atom.xml [blogspot.com] and you'll notice images. Lots of them. Not only that, I just subscribed to the feed in SharpReader and the images showed up just fine for me.

      The problem is on your end. Get a decent feedreader and it should work for you.

      • I've noticed that with netvibes too. None of the images appear untill I actualy visit the blog. There may be something the feed reader can do to get around it, but it is deffinately bloggers fault. Every other feed with images shows up just fine in netvibes, and after my blogger images are cached from directly visiting the site, they show up as well.

        Netvibes proxys the feeds through netvibes.com, but pulls the images directly from blogger. I'll bet a feed reader that directly grabs the feed from blogger g

      • I'm talking about the fact that blogger doesn't allow external linking of their images, even from feed reading sites like Bloglines.com. The atom.xml of my examples does have images in it, as you have pointed out. However, when using a browser based feedreader, like bloglines, the images will only show up if you already have visited the blog and have them cached. I can show you the headers if you really don't believe me, but I've written to Blogger and their reply was this: I understand that Blogger hos
        • Oh, okay, I gotcha. I host my blog on my own server, so I don't run into that limitation. I can see how it would be annoying if you're legitimately hosting images. On the other hand, I can see how they would be concerned about people stealing their images. I just had an image on my site externally linked by someone who posted the image on a discussion board. Then there's a bunch of hits on my server for that image from people who aren't even visiting my site. If the traffic penalty was larger I would've yan
  • I've still not seen any blogging platform that overcomes my number one objection to using them: I haven't a damn thing to say.

    Give me one that generates Markov-chain paragraphs based on Google Sets metacategories, and you'll have purchased my buy-in.
    • I've still not seen any blogging platform that overcomes my number one objection to using them: I haven't a damn thing to say.

      There are sites out there that attempt to compensate for your lack of anything interesting to say with annoying flashy things and "friends."

  • But I'm thinking of starting up a blog called, "Get off my lawn!".

    But seriously if you think that what I have to say is interesting you really need to go outside. /Anybody want to subscribe to my newsletter?
    "Get off my lawn Digest."
  • "Hey Google!" I exclaim on my blog. "Hello user." "I heard you were working on Blogger." "Uhhh." "What was that? What are you planning to do with Blogger?" "Update." "Update?" "update Blogger, user." "Beta?" "Yes user! Wait, no." "Haha! I trust you Google" as I slap my TFT heartily on--what could be its--back. I always say a little dialouge never hurst in the morning. I heart Blogger, BTW [blogspot.com]
  • Here are the new features of Blogger Beta, a new blogging platform: [...]

    You mean "Back to the Feature"?

    Popular search engines faster [friskr.com]
  • A lot of these new features sound like they require server-side support. Do they still support publishing to servers other than BlogSpot? I don't use it and would prefer not to.
  • The cool thing that always distinguished Blogger for me was the freedom they gave you to edit the underlying page code. Myspace gives you that freedom, too -- but have you ever seen the code? (I still don't understand how their web pages just don't crumble in a heap of broken tags.)

    Blogger offers direct access to (near) standards-compliant XHTML code. I practically learned how to design websites tinkering with their templates. If you know HTML and CSS, it gives you everything you'd want with Google Page
  • No more waiting for the publishing indicator to creep its way up to 100%.
    At last you decided to save on your CPU cycles and also have a faster means to index rather than crawling the static page.
  • by amrust (686727) <.marcrust. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:23PM (#15910859) Homepage
    tag-based labels for categories.

    Anybody know if this will be implemented for future entries only, or if you can go back and tag your old posts?

    It would be convenient if they added a way to search your blog for keywords, and tag all matching entries.
  • I just hope they'll get around to fixing their long-standing sftp publishing [google.com] problem....
  • And hopefully someone with a clue finally fixed the ability that users can redirect blogspot blogs to a spam site by inserting JavaScript (document.location) in their templates (see: http://johnbokma.com/mexit/2006/07/13/ [johnbokma.com] )
  • I use their blogspot.com for my web comic just becaues it's fast and easy, but it definitely lacked (until now maybe) some features that you'd expect. For example, if you want to use an image in your template, they recommend you post it and then reference the post. In other words, you don't have true web space you can upload to use freely, so it can be annoying to, for example, make header/footer graphics.
  • Seriously. Since May, WordPress.com has added XML import/export, custom headers, mobile support, new widgets, related tag surfer [wordpress.com], comment tracking... plus it has always had blog stats, and migrating from Blogger was a snap. I'm glad I moved. I can't believe the mighty Google has taken so long to even start thinking about fixing Blogge.
    • As parent pointed out, most of the "new" Blogger features are actually standard now in WordPress [wordpress.org] which is not only better than Blogger in about every aspect, but it's also open source. I seamlessly migrated my blog [wordpress.com] from Blogger to Wordpress a while ago, and I'm not even thinking of moving back.

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