Blogger gets a makeover

[Ed.: This article was cross-posted at BlogHer.]

At SXSW Interactive this week, Google announced a refresh of the interface for its popular Blogger blogging platform. The software hasn’t been updated in years, although it remains one of the most popular blogging tools on the Web.

Blogger Product Manager Chang Kim calls the refresh “our next-generation user interface.” The changes will roll out over 2011 in stages, so don’t expect to open up your Blogger blog and find it completely different in one big step. The user interface is the big news, but there are several improvements, among them new mobile themes and something Blogger is calling a ‘content discovery engine’ that “that lets you uncover interesting and related content based on the topics of the blog you’re currently reading.”

On the geekier side, the new changes will incorporate the Google Web Toolkit. This may not matter much to you if you’re using a blogspot URL, but if you hosting a Blogger blog on your own server, this will mean you have more control over the features you can manipulate.

For everyday use, the interface will change to a sleeker and more up-to-date look. Here you see a new blog post screen showing the familiar older interface at the top, with the new look in front near the bottom.

blogger Interface

The Dashboard will change as well. Here’s the new Dashboard.

Blogger's new dashboard

At Free Technology for Teachers, the comment was made,

The new editor looks a lot like the Google Docs document editor.

Anna Leach at Shiny Shiny said,

They are smartening up the back-end of the site – making it easier to see what you’re doing, and giving users a more intuitive preview of their work.

Google released a promotional video about Blogger.

Sarah Gooding at WPMU very helpfully listed the new features mentioned in the video.

  • The ability to easily customize templates without any CSS knowledge
  • Access to real-time stats
  • Improved spam filtering
  • Continued stability (The Blogger service has had zero downtime, according to Pingdom)
  • Inclusion of web fonts
  • A sleek mobile experience of the platform
  • Smart content discovery
  • Integration of the Google Web Toolkit

In an era when sites we’ve come to depend on (like Flickr) are being neglected or abandoned by their owners, it’s great that Google is stepping up to keep Blogger competitive and on the cutting edge.