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Google Blogger Leaves Beta 67

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the more-emo-please dept.
VE3OGG writes "It would seem that Google's famed, award-winning blogging software, Blogger, has just left beta, ABC reports, and entered a growing (but still short) list of Google products to move out of beta. Of course, with this change is status also came a few crucial new features for Google's blogging agent, specifically Google account integration, "Web 2.0" code free updates, and tagging."
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Google Blogger Leaves Beta

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  • by D-Cypell (446534) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:37AM (#17337320)
    ...Just a few years in Gamma, couple in Delta, a nice amount of Epsilon testing and we might have it nailed!
  • by homey of my owney (975234) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:39AM (#17337360)
    Does this mean it graduates to Clogger now?
  • by kjart (941720)

    Is this the first Google product to actually make it out of Beta (aside from search, of course)? In a way it's kind of sad if it is.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Google News [google.com] left beta some time ago.
    • The current Google groups interface was in beta in the past. There is now a new beta [google.com] for the third implementation of Google groups. This is the only feature to go into beta twice.
    • by owlnation (858981)
      No. Google Earth, as one example, is also out of Beta.

      I have a blogger account set up as a mirror of my Wordpress one. So I saw this news earlier today when I updated the blog. It surprised me. The reason why I use the Wordpress blog as my main one, is quite simply it is light years ahead of Blogger. The Wordpress one even has a built in Analytics - from Google nonetheless - you have to open an account separately for Blogger.

      Blogger isn't bad, it's simply ho-hum. My personal feeling is that it should
  • The "beta" crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by danpsmith (922127) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:43AM (#17337426)
    Everyone complains about Google's products being permanently in beta, but at least in some cases, the term is largely justified. For instance: docs and spreadsheets is in beta. This is well deserved, the online word processor still can't handle enter presses adequately and screws up the formatting when trying to edit online. In my opinion, Google moves products out of beta when they are ready for general consumption. The only difference is that they aren't worried about having the whole of the audience for their products be beta testers, because, frankly, they only get money through ad traffic. In effect, it works well on both ends, because we can start to see which services Google will have finalized, used the products before they are really ready to be used and then have a final product eventually.
    • Also, it's just not a bad from their standpoint to get a whole lot of free beta testers. The only down side to Google's beta testing is that they're tipping their hand to any competition, but that downside is incurred by Google, and they seem fine with it. All in all, I'm not sure it's worth complaining.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by zataang (596856)
      The other thing is that despite the shortcomings, they do get my work done. Docs and spreadsheets has a large number of bugs, but I can live with them just because shared-editing saves us a whole lot of hassle.
    • by massysett (910130)
      GMail fully deserves its Beta label. I often get "Oops, the system was unable to perform that function" errors. Sometimes I go to the website only to see "Gmail is temporarily unavailable." It's so much better than any other webmail that I put up with the Beta glitches (and hope they don't lose my mail!)
    • Here's a surprise for anyone who's gotten used to my usual Google-praising: IMO, Blogger could stand to be in beta for a while longer--the new Blogger template tags still fail to produce W3C compliant links etc. If Google developers aren't going to follow the rules, why do they leave the strict DOCTYPE in their templates?
  • by Salvance (1014001) * on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:46AM (#17337458) Homepage Journal
    The new Blogger beta is, quite frankly, a disappointment. Blogger was pretty amazing when it came out years ago, but since Google bought them the brand has languished far behind competitors (Wordpress, Typepad, etc). Now Google adds a couple extra features, removes the Beta tag, and expects great fanfare. They just get ho-hum from me.
    • by garcia (6573)
      Now Google adds a couple extra features, removes the Beta tag, and expects great fanfare. They just get ho-hum from me.

      Why break something that works pretty well as it is? I have heard some complaints from longtime Blogger users that they may have to use Picasa to now do their images. That worries them because of the free image unlimited image hosting that Blogger used to provide.

      Personally, I don't like Blogger or the integrations that Google has done and that's why it gets a "ho-hum" from me. It has no
    • by BAM0027 (82813)
      A significant aspect of this release is the move away from blogger's original infrastructure. The blogging service (still free!) is now on a much more robust and better performing back end.

      I find it odd that this aspect of the upgrade isn't front page news, but I guess that would point to a significant shortcoming of the previous version. Bottom line is that now the service is primed from the base up for progress. We'll see what that actually looks like.

      p.s. Lastly, AFAIK, the transition of blogs from the o
    • They may have left beta, but I'm not sure they've entered the 21st century. Blogger forbids the <cite> tag in reader comments. Is there some nefarious use of citations of which I'm unaware? I know this is just a small thing, but to me it speaks volumes. (I suspect <cite> isn't alone, but I don't use Blogger much so it's the only one I've run into.)

    • Yeah, Blogger has been stuck for a while...this release is kind of a "catch-up". IMO, google bougth blogger because of the programmers, not the product. The guys who implemented the origina blogger maybe working in other areas, not in blogger anymore.
  • by stocke2 (600251) *
    now if Gmail could just make it out of beta
  • The genius of Google's strategy of keeping applications "in beta" forever is that they get two press events for each product launch.

    What I don't get is, why do you people keep falling for it?

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by neoform (551705)
      It's all part of "web 2.0", hell, i bet they'd get a press release if they added a couple gradients to a few block elements on their page..
    • Although Google does leave stuff in beta forever (and has diluted the notion of what beta software, or for that matter 'final' software is), I don't really think it's only so they get the PR effect twice. Companies like Google can buy more PR than mere mortals could typically imagine.

      Looking at Google News specifically, I think they leave it in beta because they haven't figured out how to make money on it yet, and once they do it as a for-profit venture, they'll have to start paying for the news on their

  • Google product? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Otter (3800) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:55AM (#17337608) Journal
    ...entered a growing (but still short) list of Google products to move out of beta...

    Anyway, didn't they buy Blogger? And was it "beta" when they bought it, or do they actually move acquired products backwards in their lifecycle?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by momerath2003 (606823) *
      The new "Blogger beta" represents a complete overhaul of the Blogger system by the Google team.
    • Yes - The company that originally created Blogger was Pyra Labs. Google acquired Pyra in 2003.
  • by jZnat (793348) * on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:58AM (#17337664) Homepage Journal
    And of course, the Safari/Konqueror love was nonexistent. Works perfectly in Firefox, obviously, but you can't create new or edit existing blog posts in Safari/Konqueror with or without the WYSIWYG editor.
    • by Ngarrang (1023425)

      And of course, the Safari/Konqueror love was nonexistent. Works perfectly in Firefox, obviously, but you can't create new or edit existing blog posts in Safari/Konqueror with or without the WYSIWYG editor.
      You can set the blogger features to allow you to e-mail your posts to it. You can also publish posts from Writely (Docs & Spreadsheets).
      • by jZnat (793348) *
        I didn't know you could email posts. Friggin' sweet.

        And I don't think Writely works in Konqueror/Safari due to the lack of rich text editting features found in Firefox, Seamonkey, IE, and probably Opera (don't know offhand), so that doesn't really help.
  • Finally, posting to blogger works in the browser of *my* choice.

    A few months back, I noticed that it would take me up to the "preview post" stage, but when I tried to go any further (like, actually post it) I would get a blank page in my SeaMonkey browser.

    Google's FAQ simply said "get firefox". I did, and it still didn't work (probably some residual settings), so I removed FF. I would have to go to a public computer terminal with FF to post. PITA!

    Now, at least, I can post with SeaMonkey.

    - RG>
  • by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info AT devinmoore DOT com> on Friday December 22, 2006 @12:02PM (#17337722) Homepage Journal
    I thought I heard that the new blogger was going to allow you to earn back some of the ad revenue from your blog, so that you weren't just generating income for the parent company off of your traffic. Can anyone confirm?
    • You could just host your Blogger content on your own host instead of blogspot.com.

      Only blogspot.com's TOS [blogger.com] forces you to display their ads, not Blogger's.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday December 22, 2006 @12:20PM (#17337964) Homepage Journal
    It's still going to have bugs, like all SW (and everything else). Most of its users won't notice the difference with the qualitative version change, except maybe the usual new features magically appearing. So what's the difference between "Beta" and "release", when the Beta was a "public Beta release"?

    I bet it's just some way to start charging money for access. Might as well drop the "Beta" designation, and just call "releases" the "money release".

    FWIW (little, post-Netscape), "Alpha/Beta/Release" aren't subjective names. "Alpha" is a version tested (used) by people who also designed/implemented it. "Beta" is a version tested by people who didn't design/test it, unless perhaps the design/test team did get them to produce and/or review acceptance tests/criteria. And "Release" is the version that has been tested OK against release criteria.

    To be complete, correct version numbering isn't very subjective, either. The format is >major<.>minor<.>patch< . Bugfixes (not new features) increment the "patch" number. Format changes, in API, transmission (eg. network) or storage (eg. files) still backwards compatible increment the minor number. Feature changes still using the same UI increment the minor number. Format changes not backwards compatible, feature changes which change the UI, or transformational bugfixes which change either formats or UI to break backwards compatibility all increment the major number. Incremental builds can extend the numbers with a dash (eg. "2.13b4.77-154", for the 154th build of the 77th bugfix of the 4th beta of version 2.13), but only in Alpha and Beta versions, not actual releases. A good project's bug reporting will list bugs by their reported ID in lists of which bugfix release fixes them. "Release Candidate" numbers are just nicknames for the last in the series of Betas. Much as the the b1 version is identical to the last Alpha version.

    That's it. Each number change should have an Alpha/Beta/Release version, though Alphas can sometimes be skipped with tiny bugfixes. So there's no need for "odd/even" version numbering to reflect "development" versions. And numbers are sequential, except of course when a higher order number increments, resetting the smaller order number (eg. 2.13.77 -> 2.14.0 ->2.14.1). Version numbers have been hijacked by marketdroids, which just confuses the market they bamboozle, which is ultimately bad for sales, and even worse for costs of support. The version number should tell people whether to upgrade, and whether their old data, training and related activities will be noticeably impacted (with associated extra costs).

    Netscape broke everything with it's "public Beta" release that defined Web SW distribution. Microsoft has made the curse ubiquitous with SW versions 1, 2, 3 standing in for Alpha, Beta, Release, but mixing it up with new features to substitute for bugfixes. And Service Pack versions that form an entire new chain, and ongoing patches, and every other unmanageable version numbering "scheme" possible. And Linux distros continue the damage with the odd/even numbering and arbitrary versioning, with major releases measured in minor numbers, requiring various extra versions, and version numbering of each release for each distro.

    But the numbering schemes change monthly, quarterly. If developers just return to the simple discipline, we'll get back to numbers that actually mean something helpful to users and developers, not just marketdroids counting up to their next bonus.
    • by scgops (598104)
      >"Alpha/Beta/Release" aren't subjective names.

      It's nice to know someone still believes in fairy tales.

      >Version numbers have been hijacked by marketdroids...

      That, at least, is true.
    • The format is >major<.>minor<.>patch< .

      The format is <major build>.<minor build>.[ <version> [ .<patch> [.<level> [b [.<tree>]]]]]

      • pre-alpha: A good deal of the base code runs. It's full of bugs.
      • alpha: The base code is fairly stable. Let's get the rest of the modules working.
      • beta: Code freeze. The software is stable. The modules work. Let's find the bugs.
      • release candidate: Customers can peek, familiarise themselves and file bug reports.
      • dogfoo
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        Your nomenclature is meaningful only (to some people) within your organization. What does "a good deal" or "fairly" mean? Or even "the rest of the bugs"? Numbers assigned to those conditions don't mean anything except whenever it was convenient to declare those completely unaccountable statuses "the next version". There's no info value in the numbers, and no way to know when to assign the numbers.

        There is a relationship between versioning (and its numbers) and development/release workflow. But your scheme i
        • This has been the basic nomenclature format in every place I've ever been over the past 15 years. What does "a good deal" or "fairly" mean? Depends on the Project Manager, the goals and objectives. Each project is different. Some don't even have "pre-alpha". In general alpha has meant "the code runs but it's unstable as hell. It can perform the basic tasks that we've described in $ListOfObjectives although you might have to try five times and prod it along."

          Of course, you could be ready for beta testing whe
          • by Doc Ruby (173196)
            Maj.min.patch-build is pretty standard, but what the numbers mean has been all over the place. In Silicon Valley where I learned the meanings (starting in 1990), in NYC (mostly Wall Street) where I saw it confirmed, and in Toronto where I taught all my own developers out of school, those numbers mean the same thing I mentioned. Clear meanings usable by SW producers and consumers alike. Telling you when to upgrade, and what the costs/risks would be. A separate meaning from the development process' goals: the
            • by Doc Ruby (173196)
              Forget it - even ECODE and CODE tags don't preserve the (multiple) newlines that make it really readable. And Slashdot's lame filter complains that 33.0 characters per line is too few.
    • Netscape broke everything with it's "public Beta" release that defined Web SW distribution. Microsoft has made the curse ubiquitous with SW versions 1, 2, 3 standing in for Alpha, Beta, Release, but mixing it up with new features to substitute for bugfixes.

      Microsoft was doing that long before Netscape even existed - across the Eighties wise computer users didn't buy anything from Microsoft until version 3.0 hit the streets.
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        I agree that MS was abusing the naming system before Netscape was created in 1994. But what SW did MS release in the 80s that was even v3? Not that such history contradicts your statement...
        • I agree that MS was abusing the naming system before Netscape was created in 1994. But what SW did MS release in the 80s that was even v3? Not that such history contradicts your statement...

          MS-DOS, Windows (which crept across into the 90's), Quick Basic (which also crept into the 90's and is *not* to be confused with the QBASIC that shipped with DOS 5), and various other professional tools/languages. (It's all but forgotten today - but across the Eighties Microsoft was a major player in the developer mark

          • by Doc Ruby (173196)
            I remember 80s MS. I learned C with MS C v5, so I guess they "got it out of beta" by then. As I recall, they did - it was IBM which hadn't gotten the PC out of beta, because it still required extra packages to cope with "Extended Memory", "Expanded Memory" and even "memory models" (ranging to "huge" for >1MB, I think I recall) hardcoded as compiler flags.
  • What's going on with Blogspot. All of the blogs I occasionally checkup on have either disappeared or been hijacked by spammers. This all happend in the last couple months when Google was reorganizing things.
  • Of course, with this change is status also came a few crucial new features
    Seems kinda strange to add features when you are releasing software. Shouldn't new features be added to a new cycle? Isn't a beta meant to be feautre complete?
    • by scgops (598104)
      Good point. Most companies add features in beta releases, and go live once things are stable. I guess Google didn't care to solicit feedback on the new features before the official launch.
  • by alphafoo (319930) <loren@boxbe.com> on Friday December 22, 2006 @01:11PM (#17338756) Homepage
    Ironically, I just switched away from Blogger last week because the new templates, although great-looking, are not easily configured for right-to-left (RTL) languages. I'm not a CSS expert but I did give it a try over the weekend and eventually I gave up fighting it and reverted back to the old template which relied on my surrounding each entry and post title with a DIV DIR=RTL.

    I searched around to see what other people had done with the new Blogger and to see if I could just use someone else's template, but all of the ones I saw were a mess. Some parts RTL, some not, some of the layout broken. So, I moved to a site with excellent RTL support, but difficult to use because it seems to have been built and tested solely for Internet Explorer, so Firefox1.5 and Safari and Opera on the Mac all choke on various (but different) aspects of the posting process.

    If someone has had some success making a clean Blogger template using Arabic/Farsi/Hebrew/etc, please share.
  • by Bryansix (761547) on Friday December 22, 2006 @02:06PM (#17339732) Homepage
    Picasa2 is out of Beta and it is a horrible mess!
  • Maybe this means that now the third-party blogging client developers will be able to get their software working with Blogger accounts again.
  • The JavaScript just KILLS Firefox 2.0. Just scrolling up and down the page is a nightmare - and it's a short page!

    Opera scrolls the page much faster and more smoothly.

    Firefox 2.0 has a LOT of work to do on it. Every day it irritates me more with its erratic performance, broken download function (on Kubuntu Linux, anyway), and occasional crashes and lockups due to JavaScript issues.

    Note: I'm not complaining about Google Blogger - I haven't used it yet - - I'm just complaining about crap software in general.
    • It's the translucent elements that seem to do it. Those drag Firefox to its knees, and according to 'top,' all the MIPS are being spent in the X server, not the browser. They need to figure out a faster way to do things that doesn't soak the X server like that.

      --Joe
  • There have been two versions of Blogger for a while now - "Blogger" and "Blogger in Beta". "Blogger in Beta" was the upgrade with new features, like the drag-and-drop element placement, the new template code, etc. "Blogger" is the original code. You had a choice between either of them, and each had a separate login area.

    Saying that Blogger is just leaving Beta is inaccurate. The new version is just leaving Beta.

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