One of the major usability issues with Google Blogger has long been making the millions of blogs hosted on the service searchable on an individual basis. While the Blogger header bar featured a search box, many bloggers didn’t want the Blogger-branded bar “cluttering” their blog.
A year ago, Google first started testing a solution—a search box that could be placed in a sidebar. Like in WordPress, the search box was available as a sidebar widget (“Gadget”)—but only in Blogger in Draft. At the same time, Google announced an embeddable comment form in Blogger in Draft.
To add the widget, go to Layout—Add a Gadget. Select search box. (The pop up window also gives a preview of the search results.)
Where the old Blogger search on the header bar showed the results integrated with the blog template, the new search box creates a results frame above the blog content (search box in the left sidebar; results box in the main post column):
The tabbed results frame also offers results from web pages linked from your blog, and the web at large. If you have a link list, that’s a fourth option for a tab. If you don’t want these tabs, these options can be customized when you add or edit the Gadget.
Overall, this is a good step toward making Blogger a stronger hosted blogging platform. Making the individual blogs more powerful and user friendly is definitely a smart move. The only question here is: is this too little, too late?