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Blogger, better

tech reviews Updated: Mar 31, 2009 21:02 IST
Highlight Story

So, fiddling around with my blog and Twitter, I came across Blogger in Draft — a place where the Blogger developers put the newest features they’re trying out for all Blogger blogs. The catch is, if the features don’t work out, they vanish. So something you’ve become fond of could just not work after a while. There are several other catches also — if you’re using a pre-loaded template, you have to switch in order to use several of the coolest things. Sometimes, things are hard to fiddle with, and some things you should really only try when you’re confident you can return everything to the way it was.

But all in all, Blogger Draft (http://bloggerindraft.blogspot.com/) has some pretty awesome things, and today I’m going to talk you through it. In order to work with the new features, first, you need to change where you sign in. Instead of going to www.blogger.com, you now go to draft.blogger.com. The new dashboard has a box you can check to make it your default, so if you like it, you don’t need to keep changing the address. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t like it. Think of all the things that you didn’t like about the old Blogger. Imagine new cool features built in, just at your fingertips. If you’re thinking of starting a blog, this is possibly the best website you could use to host it.

The cool new features

Mobile posting: I just discovered how to send “tweets” to my Twitter account through my cellphone. Yes, yes, I know I’m really late to the party, but my cellphone, though it promises the Internet, hasn’t delivered and for the longest time, sending SMS to Twitter hadn’t been activated in India. Well, now it has, and to my immense joy, so has mobile posting on the new Blogger. Just sign up, send messages but uh-oh, still only in the US. Sigh. You can email post though, through your cellphone, if you’re always on the go and don’t have much time to type on a keyboard. (Personally, I just discovered the Windows Live Writer, so I’ve just been posting to my blog through my desktop. Which is pretty much the same amount of effort, so why do I do it? Because I can.)

Geotagging: A feature I absolutely love. If you have a travel blog, you’re going to adore this. Like labels, you can add maps—yes, maps—to your blog, to each individual post. The feature does have a few bugs, but you can work with this beta version and have people clicking on different places they want to read about. So simple—and so genius. (On my blog it would be only Bombay, actually, only Bandra, but hey, I’m sure you guys get around a lot more than I do.)

Reactions and star ratings: Another excellent feature, and one you have to change your whole blog look for. Basically, add customised ratings at the bottom of each post and have your reader click on one to see which posts are the most popular. I put “Awesome”, “meh” and “Hmm” on mine, and the stars as well, but two might be overkill. Go to your Layout page in Blogger Draft, click ‘Post Layout edit’ and just check off which features you want.

What else is new

Other than this stuff, there’s also a brand new compose post page, where you can drag and drop images (a big deal for someone like me, because I like to have multiple images with captions, but find it hard to do exactly the way I want to.) There’s also a new HTML edit thing, for you people who, unlike me, like to code your posts yourself and a new way to view your comments—right on the post page, instead of being redirected.

All in all, Blogger in Draft gets a thumbs up from me, but I’m waiting for them to put all their cool stuff on the main page as well. If you like experimenting, I suggest you make the switch immediately. It’s loads of fun.

Meenakshi writes at www.thecompulsiveconfessor.blogspot.com.

Send her your queries at meenakshimadhavan@gmail.com

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