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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Blogger: Google Inc.'s neglected stepchild

For the past few weeks I've been working on an overhaul for this blog. I'm feeling like the time is right for a drastic new look: something that'll pop into a reader's retinas and stay burned in his gray matter. Longtime readers will remember a time when this was a pitch-black site with strange-colored fonts, back when I didn't really know what the heck I was doing with a blog. I gave it the white "newspapery" look a year ago but other than those minor cosmetics, it's basically been the same design for the past four years.

So I've been studying blog designs and what I'd like to do with my own, and I'm seeing what others do with theirs. Like Kevin Bussey's blog, for example. His is about as well-designed and downright slick a personal blog as I've ever seen. And I'd love to be able to do stuff like what he and others are doing with theirs...

...except that Kevin and lots of other folks are using WordPress for their blogging. Which compared to Google's Blogger - which is what my own blog uses - is like comparing an SR-71 Blackbird to a Sopwith Camel. Both will get ya there, but one is definitely more "boss" than the other.

Suddenly I'm feeling like Web 2.0's version of Oliver Twist, daring to approach Google's table to ask "Please sir, I want some more!"

I'm not the only one whose blogging capabilities are feeling abandoned by Google. Ian Lamont laments intensely about frustration with Blogger in a piece at The Industry Standard's website. He argues - and I'm compelled to agree with him - that Google has thoroughly neglected Blogger, which it acquired when it bought Pyra Labs in 2003. The reason? Lamont argues that Google is simply interested in "other things", like Google Maps.

Kinda makes you wonder if Google's possession of YouTube will eventually be revealed as nothing more than a casual flirtation, and whether service on that site will likewise stagnate.

I would like to see Google not just pick up the Blogger ball, but start treating it like a serious resource that should be developed, nurtured and made into a competitive asset. It needs to open the doors for users to implement new toys and widgets, like WordPress and other blogging platforms allow. And Google seriously needs to migrate away from the blogspot.com domain and fully embrace Blogger as not just the top-level domain for its users but a brand name as powerful as YouTube is. What do you think looks more potent: "theknightshift.blogspot.com" or "theknightshift.blogger.com"?

In the meantime, I'll keep working on my humble page here. But I'm already beginning to seriously consider moving my regular blogging business to WordPress. If you're thinking about getting started with a blog, and until Google starts getting serious about improving things with its own service, maybe you should too.


qemuel said...

Funny you should write this entry, as I've been thinking about moving mine to somewhere a little nicer as well.

Ruthie Rader said...

AHEM! I have a black blog and have no intention of changing it. My blog, "Ruthie In The Sky", has been black since the day it was born in December 2004. I concentrate more on content rather than overall appearance. And since there are very few middle-aged women with hitchhiking stories that blog on the Internet, I feel that I have a guaranteed reader base. However, I have been concerned about Google lately, too. Google is being sued again, by a private investigator, no less, and is also being eyed by the Department of Justice concerning its AdSense behavior. I started my blog to tell a story, keep a journal and put something of myself out on the Internet. I never cared [and still don't] about ratings or shares or competition blah-blah-blah. I just want to know that I will still be able to keep my blog online for another four years. I have been reading stories about people leaving Google in search of better employment opportunities. Get it? Search? But seriously, there is something not too cool going on at Google right now and I think it's time that they come clean with everyone who blogs under their banner.

Kevin Bussey said...

Make the move to the dark-side! You won't regret it.

Chris Knight said...

The problem with going to WordPress though is that I've invested over four years of material in this blog. What do I do with all of that?

I've already registered theknightshift.wordpress.com and I suppose that I could leave this one up, and point people to the new one... but I still like to have all my posts in one place. Unless there's a way to export the Blogger material to WordPress?

Kevin Bussey said...

Wordpress will import all of your info. I did it 2 years ago.

Chris Knight said...


I might have a project for the weekend then :-)


Kevin Bussey said...

Try it out. Then there is a code you can put in your blogger header that automatically sends it to your new one. It is cool.