Since Blogger introduced “In Draft” last year, we have seen a steady trickle of new features emerge in beta format, ready for testing before they are released for general use. Over the past few weeks, though, we have seen some particularly useful features which will soon be integrated into the main Blogger interface. Lets take a look at what Blogger users can expect to be using in the near future.

Blogger Gadgets

Many of you will already be familiar with Google Gadgets. Well finally Blogger have decided that full integration of Google’s gadgets would be a better alternative to the current system of blog widgets.

Rather than adding a “New Page Element”, Blogger users will soon be prompted to add a “Gadget” from a choice of literally hundreds which are available from the existing Google powered system. What’s more, this “gadget” selection screen will be completely made over. Far from the boring style we have all become accustomed to, this revamped popup screen features modern illustrations which offer insight into exactly what your new widget gadget can do for your blog’s appeal.

Scheduled Posts

This is something Blogger users have been crying out for, and finally the Blogger team have managed to implement this (at least in beta format, for now). Using Blogger in Draft, Blogger users can change the date of their post to a future time and date, and their post will not be published until this time (whereas the current status means the post is published immediately, though the apparent published date may be years away).

You can read more about this new feature and how to use it by reading the announcement post.

Blog List (Blogroll)

Another feature which has been available to WordPress bloggers for some time is the “blogroll”: a list of the author’s favorite sites, usually published in the sidebar. Blogger have introduced this feature in draft format for testing, along with some options for customization which include:

  • Favicons
  • Title/Extract of the most recent item published on this blog
  • Date of this blog’s last update

Unfortunately, if a blog in this list is hosted by Blogger then the favicon displayed will be that tell-tale Blogger logo, even if the blog in question has opted to call their own favicon in their template code… Hopefully Blogger will be able to fix this bug before this particular feature is fully integrated into the system.

Search Box

Now this is an interesting new feature. You can add a search box to your layout with tabs to search your own blog, the web, blogs which link to your own blog and blogs featured in your blog list (these optional searches can be set in the widget installation screen).

The results of this search will appear above your blog posts (rather than in a separate page) which is a definite advantage over using a custom search (which currently is limited to opening up the results in a new page).

What will Blogger develop next?

The answer to that is anyone’s guess! Blogger tend to keep upcoming features under wraps until they are ready to release in beta.

You can vote for a new feature (or suggest an entirely new one) if there is anything in particular you would like to see implemented in the Blogger system.

In the meantime, you can try out any of the features outlined here by logging into Blogger in Draft, or stay updated about upcoming improvements by subscribing to the Blogger in Draft blog.