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12/21/2006
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Google Takes Blogger Out Of Beta

The new features provide more flexibility in layout by enabling drag and drop positioning of most elements on the page, and more options are given for colors, fonts, headers, and the sidebar.

Google has taken its Blogger service out of beta and has added features for customizing layouts, organizing postings, and making blogs private.

Google launched the Blogger upgrade in beta in August, making it available to only a limited number of subscribers. In launching the final version, Google has dropped the separate login for Blogger and is letting anyone start a blog by signing into his or her Google account.

The new features provide more flexibility in layout by enabling drag and drop positioning of most elements on the page. More options are given for colors, fonts, headers, and the sidebar. Google also has eliminated the need to know about HTML or cascading style sheets.

By default, blogs are accessible by anyone on the Web. The new Blogger, however, gives users the option of choosing readers by listing their e-mail addresses. People with Google accounts can view the blogs without restrictions. People without an account have to be relisted every two weeks.

For prolific bloggers, the upgrade enables them to group postings under tags such as personal, TV, movies, etc. Google calls these tags labels, which are listed in a separate box.

None of the features breaks new ground; they're found in rival blogging services such as Six Apart, which offers personal, business, and professional platforms. Google bought Blogger in 2003 from Pyra Labs, which first launched the service in 1999.

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