Blogger is one Google application that is way behind the times and yesterday they announced that they are finally starting to catch up. However, I think it could be a little to late.
So what’s new? Finally Blogger is starting to support categories, I mean labels. Taking a tip from Gmail, Blogger is using labels as it’s organization system. I think this is good for Gmail users to understand how to organize information, but non Gmail users may find it extremely confusing. Why don’t they just call it categories?
Another great improvement is instant publishing. No more publishing icon that never stops. This is one big reason I left Blogger. Publishing sucked as it never seemed to complete half the time.
More feeds and feed controls are also added. There are post feeds, blog comment feeds and per-post comment feeds. All with the ability to show no feed, short or full descriptions.
Template customization is also much easier now as you can edit your template without knowing HTML. Just drag and drop elements into place. This is great for the non-technical and I can see Google widgets coming in the future.
Throw in a new dashboard, some new, editable, themes and better privacy controls for those that want to control who sees their blog and you get a great Blogger update. I’ve played around with it and I have to say that Blogger is coming back into the game. The only thing I worry about is that a lot of people have already left for WordPress.com or other blogging software.
The downsides? Well labels throw up dynamic URLs. It’s your blog URL followed by search?label=blogger. That’s not cool. I’d rather see /label/blogger/ in the URL. Also, the new features are only available via the beta. Most users won’t be able to get the new features for a while. Could be weeks, could be months. Who knows.
All in all, it’s great to see Blogger finally adding some much needed features and getting back into the game. I guess we can start to take Blogger seriously again.