Google, which acquired the blogging service in 2003, is limiting the number of current subscribers that can switch over to the upgrade. People can use the beta version now, if they start a new blog. To sign up for the service, people must have, or register for, a Google Account.
The new version, launched this week, enables bloggers to configure whether they want their blog to be available publicly or only to a select number of readers. To read a private blog, however, a person will have to have a Google Account.
Other new features include editing tools that enable someone to edit and customize blog templates without any knowledge of HTML or cascading style sheets, Google said in a company blog. Colors, fonts, headers and sidebars can be customized with a few clicks. Elements in a template can be dragged and dropped to different locations.
Google did not say how long the beta would last, but has set up a special site explaining all the new features.