Seeds Of A Social Network: Blogger Adds New "Following" Feature

Blogger has announced a new “following” feature that enables members to list themselves as fans of other members’ blogs.

By following a set of blogs, your username and avatar will not only show up among other followers in a MyBlogLog-like gadget that can be placed in the sidebars of these blogs. You can also view the latest posts from the blogs you follow in a special feed reader on the Blogger dashboard.

Since Blogger is owned and run by Google, the posts from the blogs you follow on Blogger can also be accessed with Google Reader in a special “Blogs I’m Following” section.

While the new following feature will be useful for staying on top of your favorite content, the main benefit to Blogger will come from introducing a better sense of community, one that can be built out gradually into a more functional social network. The Blogger team has already announced its intention to implement Google Friend Connect throughout the blog network, so it’s definitely heading further in this direction.

On the one hand, this new feature roll out can be seen as just an attempt to stay competitive with Moveable Type and WordPress, both of which have already developed social features of their own (and the former of which has run into the arms of Google’s social networking nemesis, Facebook).

But Google also conspicuously lacks a social network with any significant amount of popularity in the United States (Orkut hasn’t made much headway here). So perhaps it has decided to pin much of its social networking hopes on Blogger, which could be leveraged to bolster the usage of Google Friend Connect and eventually OpenSocial as well.

If you’re a Blogger user and don’t see the new following feature yet, you may have to wait a few weeks – they are rolling it out gradually.

[News via The Social]