LiveJournal, or more aptly its parent company, Danga, was bought by Six Apart. For those not entrenched in the blogging community and its politics, Six Apart makes Movable Type, the most popular blogging software out there, and TypePad, one of the most popular paid blogging services.
Six Apart essentially sets the standard for what a blog is, and what its features should be. In particular, Movable Type supports Trackbacks which allow blogs to reference entries in other blogs. Most major blogging systems support them (including my software, WordPress).
Why should anyone care? Because it could shape the future of the web as we know it. There’s already growing concern that Trackbacks have a huge effect upon Google because of the large amount of links that it uses (which is one of Google’s ways of ordering search results). One of Six Apart’s top priorities is to add Trackbacks to LiveJournal (bringing it up to par with other web log systems).
Despite LiveJournal being open source, nearly all the features and work being put into it were largely trivial. Things like mood indicators and current song information were the bread and butter of LiveJournal. That mostly reflected the desires of its user base, which isn’t all that technical (I’m putting this nicely). It has a theme system that’s easy, but totally inflexible. It didn’t do any really neat things, just stuff that would entertain users.
That’s going to change I suspect. LiveJournal may start supporting text filters like Markdown. It will have Trackbacks. Hopefully they’ll update their editing interfaces. Currently LiveJournal only supports the Blogger editing interface, which is limited, to say the very least. It doesn’t even support titles, so users of software such as MarsEdit need to use a custom tag in the body of their post in order to set one.
Standard blogging features combined with LiveJournal’s huge user base will make Six Apart an even larger force than it already was.