Google announced this morning that it is giving its popular blogging platform, Blogger, a major overhaul. A pioneer in the field, Blogger is used by millions of individuals and, along with WordPress, is one of the most popular blogging services available. Those millions of users -- and all of the new ones I'm sure Google hopes to attract -- will benefit from five new templates that incorporate AJAX, CSS3 and HTML5 to provide a host of new benefits.
Google is currently previewing the new templates, but plans to roll them out in a wide launch soon. When that happens, Blogger users will be able to use and even customize the templates and their personal pages. Some of the benefits they'll provide, according to the official Google blog, include "infinite scrolling: read more posts without having to reload or click to a second page; New layouts: different views suited to different types of blogs; Speed: download images as you view them, not all at once in advance; Interactivity: there are now more ways to experience and engage with blog content."
If you're already a Blogger user, you can preview how the new templates will work with your existing content by adding "/view/" followed by one of the five templates titles (flipcard, mosaic, sidebar, snapshot, timeslide) to the end of your URL. Because the new templates don't yet have the ability to display advertisements, Google has provided a way to disable them.
The new templates are slick and load quickly. The only problem here is that there are only five. Like the handful of default display options available to Tumblr's millions of users or the simplest themes for WordPress, five Blogger themes will quckly build the kind of aesthetic monotony that drives visitors away. The charm is quick to wear off.