New features added in 2006:
- LJ's Notifications System lets you keep track of changes to journals and communities you care about - just look for the icon. You can set up subscriptions and read new notifications in your Message Center.
- LJ Talk, LiveJournal's Jabber-based instant messaging service which included a client created by Gizmo Project.
- TxtLJ, sponsored by Amp'd Mobile, allows you to send and receive text messages to post to your journal, add a friend and more.
- Video embedding from Google, YouTube, Photobucket, ifilm.com, Sonific.com, and Singshot.com
- Userpic Factory creates 100x100 pixel userpics out of standard sized photos. It lets you easily crop and zoom in on the part of the photo you want for your userpic.
- Tons of new themes -- We added themes from the Style Contest and from our neighbors at Vox. Find them in the Customize menu under Mixit, Expressive and Style Contest.
- Navigation strip -- This customizable strip borders at the top of the screen and offers handy links to navigate through LJ while you're reading journals and communities.
- Nudge lets you tell a mutual friend that you miss hearing from them and want them to update their journal.
- Contextual hover menus -- Just hover over a userpic or userhead icon and get options to visit the person's journal or profile page or to add them as a friend.
- FRNK Radio -- A stream of all the latest public voice posts. All goats all the time, without any annoying sheep.
Controversial changes in 2006:
We caused our own LJ Drama with many of these changes. Love them or hate them, they were all made with a lot of thought and the chief intention of keeping the site alive and growing. And we'll keep updating them based on your feedback.
- The Plus level was introduced, giving users access to more features and storage in exchange for viewing and displaying advertising.
- LJ partnered with SUP in Russia to bring more features and better translation to our large and active Russian community.
- New versions of the rich text editor and the update page.
- Sponsored communities -- it took us a little while to iron out details of the implementation, but user feedback was really helpful in making the changes happen as quickly as they did.
- LiveJournal got a new look!
- We also redesigned the homepage. Anyone remember what the old one looked like? ;)
- We had to change user subdomains. Remember back when they were www.livejournal.com/users/frank and www.livejournal.com/community/franktheco
- We introduced some new official LiveJournal communities: lj_ads to discuss questions and changes regarding the Plus level and lj_releases for announcements regarding our releases: new features, updated features, and bug fixes.
- Team Leaky Canoe announced we officially hit 100,000 approved schools in our Schools Directory that was entirely built by user submissions and volunteer screening and approval!
- We've added more webservers and databases, negotiated better connectivity through peering agreements, and improved LJ's backend by building new open source infrastructure components. (Yeah, whitaker wrote that part.)
- We've constantly been working on fixing bugs, too -- we fixed over 700 bugs in 2006, more than we have in any previous year, and faster than we ever have before. In fact, as you can see from the photo above, the engineers are sitting together having a Bug-a-thon(g) right now. (Bonus points if you can name all the LJ staffers in the pic!)
- Paid users got their userpics limit doubled to 30!
- We launched the Loyalty Userpics program where paid users accrue one bonus userpic for every three months of paid time they accumulate.
- ScrapBook photo storage space was doubled from 1GB to 2GB.
- Voice post limits were raised from 15 to 20.
- We introduced the userpic selector which allows paid members to preview userpics when posting.
- We brought back our Give More promotion.
We also had a lot of fun in 2006, as usual:
- Brad hacked up what he likes to call the "corniest feature ever": virtual gifts, or v-gifts. Now you can deliver gifts where no florist can - directly to your friends' profile pages! Choose roses, candy, balloons, a flaming bag of poo - whatever expresses your sentiments!
- On February 2nd Frank the Goat got his own comic strip when ryanestrada created frankthecomic . It chronicled Frank's misadventures and even inspired a Baby Frank plushie pattern and some adorable plush Franks created by LJ users. cocotopia created the winning version, shown here.
- The mischievous pirates/staffers veroz, revmischa and burr86 hijacked LiveJournal for a day.
- We had a zombie Halloween.
- A few of us starred in the Six Apart holiday movie.
Plans for 2007
For the new year, the team is focused on a number of initiatives. The major ones are listed here but stay tuned to news for everything else that's planned.
Search & Discovery: This year it's really going to happen! (If it doesn't happen by year's end, you have our permission to send flaming bags of poo to deflatermouse in London.) We're excited about how these improvements will help you discover the great content that's in LJ.
Connecting: Now that our Notifications system is launched, we want to make it possible for you to connect with others through private messaging (about time, huh?) There are more improvements coming to LJ Talk and SMS as well.
Usability: LJ has a ton of great features, and much of it is buried under years of fast-paced development. We plan on addressing as many areas of the site as possible. We'll be asking you for your feedback along the way, so keep an eye on lj_design.
Streamlining: We're going to be sharing the best features and resources from our other teams with the LJ community. We hope this will provide you with more media options, cross-site posting, more styles and other cool features. As always, we'll keep cleaning up old code and fixing bugs that have bothered us all for a long time.
As you can see, it was a busy year and 2007 will be just as jam-packed. If you'd like to provide feedback about LiveJournal's direction or decisions, please email feedback AT livejournal.com.
Have a Happy New Year! And frank wants you to remember to Be A Goat, Not A Sheep!