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Start-up talks up new blog service

Six Apart, the company behind a popular tool for Weblogs is launching a new hosting service to compete with Google's blogging unit.

Six Apart, which sells popular Weblog tool Movable Type, is launching a new hosting service to compete with Google's blogging unit.

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The new service, called TypePad, offers online writers a way to publish Weblogs, or blogs, which are online journals that typically include references and links to other Web sites and blogs.

Blogs have become increasingly popular with Web users, in part because of technology that makes it easy for novice computer users to post thoughts online without learning computer languages or Web programming.

One of the more popular blog sites is Blogger, owned by Pyra Labs, which was recently acquired by Google. Blogger allows new users to set up a blog for free as well as offers fee-based services. Other tools, including Six Apart's Movable Type and Radio Userland, also are popular among bloggers.

TypePad is based on Six Apart's Movable Type technology and includes archiving tools, customizable designs, and the ability to integrate photos and other media content into blogs.

The service will launch as a test version next month. The company said there will be three levels of service, but did not disclose pricing information.

Six Apart likely will face new competition from Blogger, which is working on a new version of its software. Lycos also offers blogging software, and AOL and Microsoft have reportedly been working on blogging tools.

Anil Dash, Six Apart's new vice president of business development, thinks his company's new service should be able to build off the support that Movable Type already enjoys in the blogging community.

"One advantage is we're integrating things like comments or trackback that (you) have to do with extra services on Blogger. A lot of people who are new to blogging get intimidated by that," he said. "We've already established that movable type is the power user's tool."