Wednesday, January 24, 2007

New Blogger Layout

You may have noticed that my blog now looks like everyone else's, with the navigational bar on the right. You may also have noticed other changes. These are all due to the fact that I just changed over from the old Blogger to the new Blogger, with its new layout engine. Before, I was able to use the same template on both of my blogs, simply by copying and pasting the template HTML from one blog to the other. With the new WYSIWYG editing, this is not possible, because the modules are unique to each blog, and copying a template which references nonexistent modules is a bad idea. I was able to keep most of the same page elements, though I have since removed some of the lists of links from this blog so that I only have to maintain one list. From this point, I expect the content of the nav bars to grow apart, so I'm paring them down to what makes sense for each. The advantages of the new layout engine over the old are:
  • Labels
  • Comment feeds
  • Graphical layout and template content management
  • Dynamic pages: instant publishing
One thing that I don't like as much about the whole "New Blogger beta" is the fact that it's tied to my Google account. Now, not only does Google have all of my e-mail indexed, it "knows" that the same person owns these two blogs, and performs the searches that I perform while logged in. It also has a few purchases associated with my account, thanks to Google Checkout. I'm not paranoid or anything, I just don't like that the same company has all of this information on me. It increases their confidence that they can predict what I will like (which no doubt drives the AdSense ads that I see while online), but that also decreases my freedom to dictate how I am perceived by the websites I use. Obviously, I could use a separate account for all these things, which is pretty much what I was doing before I started using my Google account with Blogger, but there's the convenience factor. That, combined with the $20 off $50 deals they were offering is why I use Google Checkout. The world would be a more convenient place if all websites had a single login in order to make a purchase in stead of a separate account at each, but I would rather that my bank manage that account, and that my bank not also have access to all of my e-mail and online musings, conveniently tied together in the same account. Don't get me wrong, I'm rooting for Google against Yahoo, Microsoft, and the other portals because they generally do things right, but that doesn't mean I'm going to drink their Kool-Aid and trust them blindly. I may yet decide to create separate dedicated accounts for blogging, e-mail, and purchases. It's so convenient not to, though.