Friday, August 18, 2006

A Rush to Launch: Google's Blogger Beta Trips Up in Wake of Windows Live Writer Debut

Microsoft's new Windows Live Writer weblogging beta software is getting positive reviews from many corners, albeit with some grumblings that it's dumbing down blogging for the masses. But at a first pass it's a very competent package that integrates well as a front end to many existing weblogging packages - including Google's own Blogger utility. Two days after the Live Writer introduction Google introduced quietly its own beta of an enhanced version of Blogger that offers features such as tagging that have been offered by other weblogging services for quite some time. The Blogger beta has been marked by numerous technical issues and limitations chronicled in the Blogger Help Group bulletin board. While Google would probably say otherwise it appears that the Blogger beta is a very rushed response to Microsoft that is exposing the limits of Google's current vision for personal publishing.

While suppliers such as Google and SixApart have been focusing on weblogs and others on Wikis, Microsoft has rightly broadened the question that they are trying to answer in personal publishing. With a mish-mosh of weblogs, wikis, emails, messaging and other systems available for personal expression there is a crying need for an environment where it's easy to shift from personal expression to collaborative expression to formal expression as simply as possible. This first "hit" application from Microsoft's Live family is an important step towards a more author-oriented approach to personal publishing that other tools suppliers need to consider carefully in expanding their own marketing strategies. The days of weblogs and wikis may not be numbered, but the days of having to wrestle with half-baked software packages that solve only part of what people want out of personal publishing may be drawing to a close.
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