I learn some interesting stuff by reading the Blogger Buzz and Google Docs blogs. Here are three things that came down the pike recently.
August 31st will be the 11th birthday of the Blogger service, and they're throwing a worldwide celebration in conjunction with meetup.com. This works for me on so many levels. I use Blogger and I love the way it makes self-publishing easy for people with passion. I use Meetup and advocate for it every chance I get, because it helped me find friends after moving to a new town. And I co-organize a group of bloggers that meets every month and was on Meetup for seven years. Seven years is a long time for people to have been getting together to talk about the Internet, and eleven years is a REALLY long time for an Internet service to have been around. They're calling this celebration the Blogger Fiesta, and I'm organizing the Cleveland party. We haven't settled on a location yet, but I have some places in mind. I'm looking forward to bringing my Erie Moose friends together with other Blogger users all over town!
Blogger made a huge step forward this week with an improved comment handling system. As I noted over at the Erie Moose site, comment spam was hard to deal with under the old system. Be patient if you don't yet see the new "Comments" tab on your Blogger dashboard; they're switching users over one batch at a time.
Lastly, I just heard about the Google Moderator service completely by accident on the Google Docs blog. Google Moderator is a sort of polling/voting/questioning system for audience participation. I decided to try using it to collect feedback on places for our blogger group to meet. Here's the resulting poll. I've put up five suggestions for locations; you can vote them up or down, or suggest your own. This service feels a little bit beta right now (why can't I get an RSS feed of votes and suggestions?) but it's easy and it seems to work. Thanks Google!