Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Coming Soon - The New "Next Blog" Link

I've been writing about the navbar, and the "Next Blog" link, for some time - about its random nature, about its dangers, and recently about its design changes. Soon, we are promised a major functionality change in "Next Blog". Blogger Buzz: Coming up Next... suggests that soon, the link will let us surf to blogs with both language and subject affinity to our blogs.

This is a great idea, and one that's been long overdue. This has been coming, since well before January 2008.

But like all great ideas, one should consider the details.

It will be interesting to see what a blog with a totally unique language / subject pair will link to. Also, how granular will the subject association be? For that matter, how will blog subject be determined? What of blogs with multiple subjects - or of course some blogs with no subject, simply ramblings?

And will this allow folks to intentionally (or un intentionally) surf to porn or spam, if they are currently viewing porn or spam? Will it be possible that the bad guys could build blogs that would have the right content, to intercept a blog viewer surfing non porn / spam, so they end up surfing through a ghetto of porn / spam blogs?

For that matter, maybe porn / spam wouldn't be the only types of hijackings. How about someone surfing blogs about automotive design being hijacked into a blog about the ozone layer (hopefully, you understand the connection there). Worse yet, into automotive insurance issues.

Take 10 minutes, see how many subject hijackings you could imagine. Soft spam / propaganda hijacks, nothing blatant. Still, opportunities a plenty, for abuse.

Ten minutes after this change hits the Blogosphere, the bad guys will have a hijack in design. Bet on it. As people start to trust the new "Next Blog" link, it'll be like wolves in the sheep pen, with no shepherds in sight.

Like many Blogger ideas, this one may deserve skeptical optimism.

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3 comments:

dogimo said...

As long as it automatically skips all blogs without the navbar, I'm happy. The current Next Blog button is a roadmap to dead-end's-ville.

kiwi-d said...

I guess its already in operation. Now when I hit Next Blog it takes me to an endless procession of blogs on scrapbooking and ink-stamping. Now I can understand Blogger thinking my profile / blog has some broad relation to those topics, but they're of no interest to me, and I'm stuck in their grasp. I'd prefer something much more random. At least though they are in English, my language, because the old Next Blog took me 75% of the time to non-English blogs. I always assumed that was something to do with my time-zone.

Lilac Sunday. said...

The new Next Blog function is absolutely awful. I used to enjoy the randomness, but now I am being directed to websites about babies and wedding photography, neither of which I have any interest in, and neither of which are mentioned in my blog.

They should restore the randomness until they get the bugs worked out of the algorithm.