Last month at Le Web 3 conference in Paris, Six Apart founder Mina Trott asserted that the next wave of blogging was going to be personal. Six Apart's own VOX blogging service is their manifestation of the principal of personal and private blogging.
Google's bought the party line on this one. The latest update to Blogger.com has pulled alongside services like Vox and Facebook, going exclusive and enabling existing users to restrict readership to certain friends.
By listing a series of safe e-mails, users can determine who may access their blogs. The privacy options are timely. Blog content is increasingly being scrutinized by both existing and would-be employers and as Six Apart has pointed out, the new trend in blogging is leaning towards private communication circles, be that friends, family, or professional.
The new Blogger requires users to register for a Google Gmail account, which has become quid pro quo for many of Google's services, including Google Docs & Spreadsheets and Google Analytics. Additionally, users will be able to tag their posts with relevant terms, in a system much like Google's Gmail labeling option.
The move puts Google on the same plane as other long-established blogging services, including Vox, TypePad, Wordpress and Xanga, which also provide friends restriction features.
The Blogger update additionally brings full support for the RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0 publishing standards, enabling readers to more easily access other blogs without having to visit the actual site. Users can also create a single space unique conversations, as separate feeds can be created for comments to individual posts.
The conversion to the upgrade for existing Blogger users will be gradual -- presently Google is only extending the upgrade to select users. The chosen ones will have to log in with their Google accounts, disregarding Blogger usernames and passwords entirely.
"If you're one of [the users chosen to transition], you'll see a blue box in the sidebar of your dashboard highlighting the new version of Blogger," a Google representative explained. At present transitioned users must click on this separate box in order to log in.
Despite initial confusion over the username transition, the new Blogger brings many good things, rids users of stock bugs, and is more intuitive than the original.
The Blogger.com service is a popular blogging platform that Google purchased from Pyra Labs in early 2003.