Google's Blogger.com service powers millions of blogs but has been rather left behind in the rash of recent Google updates and new products. That changes now, as it gets a makeover.
A New Blogging Experience?
UPDATE: Google has also released an iOS app for Blogger, so users can update with text and pictures from their iPhone or iPad. The orange hued app offers a slightly more friendly method of updating your blog than using the web version, which itself isn't too bad.
Google's new iOS app for Blogger users
Back to the original story. A post on the Blogger Buzz page announced the refresh of the blogger.com service. Existing users can look for the "Try the updated Blogger interface" message on the top right, if you want to leap in and give it a go. As I use Blogger for my own Sony PS Vita page, it was an opportunity too good to miss.
Everything in the back end has been changed, from the editor to the stats screens with a nice new font (Open Sans), spacier interface and a clearer layout, but the feature set remains largely the same, so far. Obvious additions include a page view count next to each published entry, so you don't need to visit the stats to see what people are reading and spam comment detection is enabled, an overdue addition if nothing else.
However, the blog post states that this is just the first in a series of big changes coming. So, if you were hoping for a bigger Web CMS feel or a more SEO-friendly experience might want to keep tabs on future updates to see if they answer your prayers.
Blogger's clean new look is certainly appealing
Inside the Blog
One thing the update makes it a bit harder to do is link old blog posts to the one you're currently creating. The spacing on the new list pages makes it tougher to find those posts quickly, but it's easy enough to work around.
On the stats pages, things have changed too. You can more easily see the best sources of traffic to your blog, and the left-hand menu system makes it easier to move through the various pages and options from templates to AdSense.
Pretty much everything has a new look but remains functionally identical to the old version. Aside from the design, there are no new tricks that make you go "ooh!" Guess we'll have to wait and see what Google is going to add in those future updates.
The stats page also gets a makeover
What is still missing is the ability to easily add ALT tag images, the ability to keep a featured post at the top of the page, and a smart title editor that made suggestions around keywords, or offered better choices of active phrases, wouldn't go amiss. If Google plans to get Blogger.com thought of in the same way as WordPress and LiveJournal, some more work is needed.