Saturday, October 28, 2006

Private conversation is aim of new blog software

Vox, Latin for voice, is an outgrowth of Trott's campaign to find a more secure way for people to express themselves.

In its private aspects, Vox serves some of the same purposes that e-mail or instant messaging do by allowing friends to hold secure conversations away from prying eyes.

Many features are designed for parents who want to stay connected with friends but do not have the patience or time to maintain a public blog, Six Apart officials said.

Vox is not alone in seeking to carve out private spaces on the Web. Social sites like MySpace, owned by News Corp., and Facebook rely on creating a clubby, members-only feeling, although actual blog writing is secondary to finding new people to meet.

Other social network sites like Piczo or iMeem have made privacy features core to their design, but they largely appeal to younger groups.

"Clubbing every night gets old. You may want to blog, but you may not want to blog in public," Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li said of the appeal of new sites like Vox.

Vox offers hundreds of pre-designed templates, replacing the "blank page" problem of many blogs. A conversational "question of the day" appears on Vox blogs each day to encourage users to get in the habit of writing.

Users can pull in links to other popular sites like, Google's YouTube and Yahoo's Flickr. Mobile phone users can also publish to Vox.

Vox initially is available in the United States, Japan and France, with new markets due to be added early next year.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

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