WordPress updates to 2.6, adds Gears support

The latest WordPress update is not only handy for security reasons, but adds a slew of new and downright useful features for power bloggers.

Blogging platform WordPress updated to version 2.6 late last night. It's the latest major release since 2.5, which debuted back in late March and adds nearly as many new features as it does bug and security fixes.

The video above outlines some of the major new features. The most useful of the bunch is aimed at bloggers on the go who can now take advantage of the same Google Gears integration introduced to WordPress.com earlier this month. This "turbo" mode downloads some of the files and scripts from your blog to your Gears cache, speeding up the page load when you're on a crummy connection.

Also introduced with the 2.6 update is revisioning, letting you go back to an older version of the blog post and either re-publish it over the newer one, or review the changes. This will be most helpful on multi-author blogs where you'll be able to track changes made by certain members of your blogging team with specific coloring based on author.

Another new feature that is long overdue is a built-in theme previewer, which will let you see a live preview of your blog using a selected theme. Previously you could only see what your existing content and widgets would look like with any theme by applying it over the one currently in use.

As part of the shift in blogging culture, there's also a new "press this" button, which is simply a bookmarklet for posting content from whatever page you're on straight to your WordPress blog. Similar bookmarklets from Facebook, FriendFeed, and Tumblr have proven to be an easy way to take whatever you're looking at and post it, even if the content author does not have a ShareThis, or similar sharing tool integrated into their content pages.

Users of previous versions of WordPress should definitely update to the latest stable release. As many users have discovered (myself included), some of the security holes that continue to be patched with each release can keep your blog from being overrun with spam.

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