Google does a WordPress

Another story of big-guy-copying-the-small-guy. Google just released a beta of their new Blogger. The new beta dutifully brings in the features that WordPress is famous for: Tags, drag and drop template editing, private blogging etc., This upgrade will definitely help in making many of the old time bloggers to continue sticking with this service . I tried out the new beta by signing at Blogger Beta and creating a new blog. Here are my impressions:

1. Drag and Drop Template editing

You can easily add new ‘Page Elements’ by clicking on “Add a Page Element”, which brings up a web dialog with plenty of different element types to choose from. Though looks very Worpress-ish, it is not implemented as efficiently. Sometimes, the elements become too sticky and refuse to move. I think it is a beta quirk, which will get promptly fixed. Also, there doesn’t seem to be a way to quickly convert a 2 column layout into a 3 column one.  But the biggest advantage over WP is that it still allows you to edit the HTML template, which will help many a power user.  (Not yet implemented, but coming soon..) Another nifty feature is editing the fonts and colors of your posts without any knowledge of CSS.

2. Private Blogging

How about setting up a blog which only you and your girl want to read? Well you can easily do it with this new feature:

 You can invite people to your blog, and only they can read the blog. Nice.

3. Adding Tags to a Post

Ok. The big one. Now you can categorize your posts similar to the way it is done in several other blog software/cms.

You can either add a new tag or you can pick up from the previous tags, which is implemented in the del.icio.us style.

4. Othe niceties

The blog archive keeps on growing over the years. After some time, your side bar will mostly contain only links to archives. Blogger now solves ths problem with a collapsible archive list. Have a look:

I think this is one feature that WP should quickly adapt.

No more spinner: Editing the template, does not require you to republish the entire blog. So no more (sometimes endless) spinner.

In the feature tour it is mentioned that there are plenty of new templates to try out, but I didnt see anything in the template link in my settings.

So What is missing?

-No spam filtering like Akismet

-You can’t install this software on your own server

-So many other things that WordPress can do.

None of these new features will make any WP.com user to switch to Blogger, but it is nice to see that others are also playing the catch-up game.

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