Starting Thursday, visitors to Blogger-hosted blogs will discover new viewing options if they type “/view” at the end of a blog’s URL (e.g. http://cookingwithamy.blogspot.com/view). Unlike traditional blog skins or themes though, these views dramatically alter the entire experience of reading a blog.
As Blogger product manager Anil Sabharawal told Mashable, it’s about modernizing the UI and “really revolutionizing the blog consumption experience.” Sabharawal says that blogs should be utilizing the full power of the modern web, especially HTML5, AJAX and CSS3 technology that has made websites more dynamic in recent years.
To that end, Google has launched five views that harness the power of new web standards:
- Flipcard: This visual view places square photos side-by-side in neat little rows. Hovering over any photo reveals the name of the post, the date it was published and the number of comments it has. Flipcard has the unique option of reorganizing posts based on recency, date, label or author.
- Mosaic: Mosaic takes the photos related to each blog post and turns them into a visual experience — a mosaic of photography. Hovering over any photo with the mouse increases the size of the image and displays the title of the post in question. Clicking it will open the post as part of the mosaic.
- Snapshot: Snapshot turns blog photos into a Polaroid-esque scrapbook with the number of comments and the title of the blog post clearly visible. Hovering over a Polaroid displays a short snippet from the post.
- Sidebar: Similar in some ways to Gawker‘s redesign, Sidebar creates a left-hand menu bar with all of a blog’s articles as well as their comment counts. Clicking on a title opens the article to the right.
- Timeslide: This is a three-column layout that displays recent posts. The left column shows photos and short snippets from a blog’s most recent articles, while the middle column displays only summaries of less recent posts. The right-hand column is simply a list of titles of older articles. Timeslide essentially encompasses three different time periods and makes them accessible.
Sabharawal says that these views will remain optional for now. When you visit a Blogger blog’s main URL, it will still load with the same familiar design. Blog owners also have the option to completely disable the views if they want greater control over how readers explore their websites.
Sabharawal says that Google wants to make sure these views are customizable before offering them as potential “default” layouts — that’s why it chose to only make them available if a user goes to “/view” on a blog. Still, within the next quarter, you can expect these views to gain customizable backgrounds and fonts and be available as default templates.
While Blogger is still one of the world’s largest blog networks, WordPress and Tumblr garner far more attention and have been more active launching new features and experimenting with new innovations. Google hasn’t made Blogger a priority in years, but the service is getting a major overhaul in 2011. These views are the first of many new features the company hopes will make Blogger the center of the blogging universe once again.