Google ponders Blogger, Gmail integration

Google is mulling a number of enhancements to Blogger, including tighter integration with Gmail and native image uploading.

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, according to a Google executive.

Google is also considering the creation of an enterprise Blogger version, as well as letting users limit access to their blogs by creating private groups, said Biz Stone, Blogger senior specialist.

Although Blogger currently allows users to post text and photos to their blogs via any e-mail program, Google is looking into a tighter integration with Gmail, Stone said.

"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," Stone said. "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, Stone said. Currently, images can be posted to Blogger via e-mail or 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 for workplace use, as opposed 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.

Although 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. However, Google is mulling over the possibility of adding some native privacy features, such as the ability for users to create private groups and that way control who can view their blogs, Stone said.

Meanwhile, Blogger has resolved some performance issues Stone acknowledged in March 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 mobile devices. "There's lots of people walking around with little blogging appliances which others may call mobile phones," Stone said.

While it was possible to post to Blogger from a mobile device using e-mail, the process required users to have an existing blog and engage in a certain degree of setups and preferences tweaking, Stone said. Blogger Mobile was designed to simplify the process, he said. "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," he said. More information on this service is at http://go.blogger.com.

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