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    WordPress has been busy again with an additional upgrade to its main open source blogging platform and also the announcement of the formal release of two additional products over the past 10 days.

    WordPress MU (multi-user) and bbPress have both had their proper releases with WordPress MU 1.0 and bbPress 0.72. WordPress MU is in fact a version which allows you to run and manage multiple blogs off a single system, hence users in that sense – you can of course have many users in the “authors” sense on a normal WordPress installation. This is the software that powers the hosted version of WordPress at WordPress.com and is likely to see its initial markets coming from the worlds of journalism and education where multiple individual blogs held under one roof are common.

    bbPress is forum software which has focused on being “lean and mean” and has all the features and speed that you would expect, coming as it does from the writers of WordPress. It can be run independently but will also be a great addition to those looking to include a Forum within their own Blogs. If you want to see it in action then the WordPress support forums uses it so that would be a good place to start.

    Last, but by no means least, the new version of WordPress itself – WordPress 2.0.5 codename Ronan – is mainly a bug fix of some security elements and custom fields rather than a major upgrade although 2.1 is expected to be coming out sooner rather than later with some additional functionality. What more can they add?

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    A couple of small steps last week to note regarding RSS feeds and getting a more common and compatible system across more of the main blogging platforms.

    Firstly, Blogger.com finally added support for RSS to their system in addition to the Atom feeds that they had been using. While not riveting news perhaps, it does give people using Blogger a better choice of how they want to syndicate their content which is certainly for the best (although Im sure theres no need to repeat here my views on whether Businesses should be using Blogger!).

    In any case, you will ideally still put your feed through Feedburner for all the good reasons that I outlined in Feedburner: using your feeds more effectively.

    Talking of Feeedburner, the other news was that they have been working with Six Apart on the TypePad system and they are now able to offer better integration between the two systems. This means that anyone using TypePad can also benefit from all the subscriber information and promotional elements that Feedburner offers.

    So what does this all mean? Well, its really just another step in the integration of all of the services across the main blogging platforms which should ultimately be of benefit to bothe publishers and readers of Blogs alike, because they will be able to use the same familiar tools no matter what blogging software is being used. Having worked for may years in the mobile computing industry where this was the exception rather than the norm, I for one am glad to see it happening.

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    Ive had a number of people send me trend comparisons over the past week as Google has released yet another beta product in Google Trends, which maps the number of searches made on keywords since the start of 2004. With the ability to compare up to 5 terms of a single chart, it can provide an interesting, if high level and (by Googles own admission) approximated, view of the search level and hence the interest in certain terms.

    One which did catch my eye was posted by Rachel Cunliffe at Cre8d in her post Google Trendswhere she mapped the different journeys of some of leading blogging platform software. The result was very interesting with a continued rise in WordPress against some of the other major players the results can be seen here.

    Having had my interest piqued, I repeated the exercise with a different selection of blogging software including Blogger, Mambo and Joomla. It should be said that there is a possible discrepancy in the results as both blogger and mambo are terms which could be searched on outside of the context of blogging platforms. Nonetheless, the results are:

    Conclusions purely in terms of platform, there seems to be a convergence in terms of which platforms are being searched for most often with a recent drop in mambo but a continued rise across the others. The best news to take from this is that the interest in Blogging is clearly increasing at a very healthy rate, though the levels of course fluctuate wildly between regions.

    The last word here, relating to Google Trends rather than Blogging Platforms, has to go to Steve Rubel who came up with some interesting trend comparisons as ever Google bigger than God, hey?

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