Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Et tu, Blogger?

Argh! Just a few short hours after posting on the difficulty in reporting a bug, I find myself surfing around looking for a place to make a suggestion. is behind Blogspot and therefore "powers" this blog, as they say. Or I power them. Whatever. Google owns Blogger. So here's my suggestion, guys. If I ever find your "suggestions" form I'll drop you a link. Or maybe you'll just find it on this blog. Wouldn't that be cool? OK OK, the suggestion: Please make the "next blog" thingy not suck. Right now it's a great idea and a little bit fun to use, but mostly it sucks. Here are some ways you could un-suckify it:
  1. Get serious about the porn spam blogs. If I want porn, I know where to get it. The "next blog" button is not that place.
  2. Have a smarter algorithm, or better yet: let me choose my algorithms. In my case, I'd want "next blog" to mean something like "next most recently updated blog that is similar in subject to my own or to other blogs I've deep-clicked on." Others might want to tune it differently, but it shouldn't be too hard to have an ordered set of options for what "next" means.
  3. Um Gottes Willen, laßt mich meine Sprachen auswählen! That is to say, let me choose my languages, folks. I speak three, so I definitely want to see anything in those languages, but I can't do much with Esperanto or Morse Code. So why are you showing me those blogs?
  4. Have a "bookmark" (blogmark?) button in the BloggerBar, and a dropdown menu of my thusly marked blogs. (Bonus points for letting me automatically add them to a blogroll on my own blog if I want to, and decide on a case-by-case basis otherwise.) That one is so obvious, guys! This and the next suggestion are not specific to the "next blog" function, but it should be pretty clear how they fit together.
  5. Have an instant rating option in that same BloggerBar. Let me rate every blog, every blog post if I'm on a permalink, with, say, one to five stars. There are lots of fun things you can do with that data, and most of them make my blogsurfing experience better. Yes, of course I should be able to modify my rating at any time. Take a peek at iTunes for some examples.
  6. Stop letting me get lost! "Next blog" is nice, but to really enjoy bloggersurfing I need something like "Previous blog" and, of course, "My own friggin' blog, where I started." I don't think it's very wise to leave those options up to my normal browser controls. If I need to break out to those in order to get value from blogstumbling at Blogspot, why should I bother with your toolbar at all?
That's it for starters. Now I have to figure out how to send you these suggestions, right? Or do you use Technorati? (And before you get all depressed by your BloggerBar shortcomings, I should tell you I'm growing very fond of the post composer under Posting->Create.)

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