Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Google begins to offer mobile templates for its Blogger customers; lack of customization limits feature

The search giant Google began offering its Blogger customers the ability to use mobile templates for their websites, a feature that can be turned off and on in the settings area.
The new feature will be helpful for those sites that have not set up mobile sites themselves. But unlike their regular website designs, the mobile website templates themselves are not customizable at this time. As a result, some bloggers will wait to see if the designs begin to offer more options.

The Talking New Media website offers a good example of the pluses and minuses of using Google's mobile services. The old TNM mobile website was set up by myself many months ago. It features site consistent coloring in the fonts and background, as well as ads brought in by Ad Mob. The flag, or logo, for TNM is a variation of the one used on the website to keep things consistent.

The site's coding was then altered to make sure that iPad users were continued to be directed to the regular website rather than a mobile site when they use their templates – a common error of those using mobile sites.

The new Google mobile site uses the information inside the settings area to build its mobile site. So, in the case, of TNM, the site description is brought in to the top of the home page, an element completely missing from the old mobile site.

The Google site has some its own layouts which work very well, but can't handle the special coding I use to create a drop cap on each post. The old site, since it is using the site's RSS feed, doesn't see the coding at all, and so just renders the first letter of each post as a regular letter. The Google site ads some space.

Of course, ads are missing from the Google mobile site, probably because I no longer use Ad Sense. Google, over a year ago, turned off my AdSense without any explanation, and has, over a year later, still not responded to my inquiries (one of several issues I've had with Google where they have simply not bothered to respond to customer communication).

Overall, the look is fine – and it is all free, of course, as Blogger remains a free service. For some website owners this may eliminate the need to develop a separate mobile app, something that may have motivated Google's decision to finally offer the service.