Google upgrades Blogger service - for some

New features bring Blogger closer to competing blog hosting services

Google is offering some users of its Blogger Web site access to a new version of the blog hosting service allowing user-definable templates, tagging of posts, multiple authors, and faster publication of new posts, the company announced on its own blog. It will also integrate use of the blogging service more closely with other services through changes to the account log-in process.

The new features bring Google's Blogger service closer to that offered by competing blog hosting services such as Six Apart's TypePad and Automattic's Wordpress.

However, the new features will only be available to users who log in using a Google account, not their Blogger account, and only a small percentage of users will be invited to switch their accounts over initially, Google said: "If you're one of them, you'll see a blue box in the sidebar of your dashboard highlighting the new version of Blogger."

The account change doesn't affect the contents of the blogs, or users' Blogger profiles, and will make it easier to use Google services like AdWords, the company said.

The two account systems will run in parallel for a while, but eventually Google will remove the option to log in with a Blogger account. Google Accounts are better protected against fraud, impersonation, and abuse than Blogger accounts, the company said.

Among the other changes to the service, Google will enable drag-and-drop creation of site layouts, add support for RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0 feeds so that more readers can follow a blog without having to visit its Web site, and allow authors to restrict access to their blog to certain users.

Google said it has also changed the terms of service, but the terms and conditions linked to on Thursday had not changed since the version archived in May by The Wayback Machine.

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