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Google ponders blogger enhancements

Search engine giant also considering Gmail integration with Blogger

Google is contemplating various improvements to its popular Blogger web logging service, including native image uploading and deeper integration with the company's Gmail web-mail service.

Google is also considering the possibility of creating an enterprise Blogger version, as well as of letting users limit access to their blogs by creating private groups.

Though Blogger currently allows users to post text and photos to their blogs via any email program, Google is looking into a tighter integration with Gmail.

"A lot of people are familiar with e-mail. I think it's great if you give them more features, more things they can do with their e-mail in a space they're comfortable with," said Biz Stone, Blogger senior specialist.

"For us it's not crucial that they come to Blogger.com to do their posts. If they're more comfortable [doing it] with something else, that's fine too."

Google is also evaluating an enhancement that lets users natively upload images to their blogs from within the Blogger interface. Currently, images can be posted to Blogger via email or by using other indirect methods, such as Google's Hello image-transmission service.

"There is a button there now [in the Blogger interface for image uploading], so we're working on making that a useful button," Stone said. "We're looking into that right now."

Google is also weighing whether to develop an enterprise version of Blogger that would be tailored to workplace use, rather than to individual consumer use, Stone said. "It's something we're always thinking about, something we have a few people thinking about and looking into. It's definitely being researched," he said.

Though users can password-protect their Blogger blogs with third-party software or services, Blogger currently doesn't offer native ways for users to limit access to their blogs. Google is mulling over the possibility of adding some native privacy features, however, such as enabling users to create private groups and thereby control who can view their blogs.

Meanwhile, Blogger has resolved some performance issues that were affecting the service, including slow response times. "We really spent a lot of time working on that, and overall performance for 95 percent of users is really great. We're continuing to work to make that last few just as good," Stone said.

Google introduced the latest enhancement to Blogger last week, when it launched Blogger Mobile, a feature that lets users create a new blog and post to it from a mobile device. "There's lots of people walking around with little blogging appliances which others may call mobile phones," Stone said.

While it was possible in the past to post to Blogger from a mobile device using email, the process required users to have an existing blog and to tweak setups and preferences to a certain degree. Blogger Mobile was designed to simplify the process. "It has been in this domain of experts. Our whole thing in Blogger is to always try to make these cool things easier for regular folks to be able to do," said Stone.


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