Automattic, the company behind the hosted WordPress.com service, has just debuted a new live-blogging plugin, aptly titled Liveblog. The free tool allows WordPress users to quickly and easily turn any post into a liveblog, even existing ones, just by checking a box.

From there, authors will be able to post updates directly from the front-end of their site (not the admin dashboard), with support for dragging and dropping photos. As for readers, they’ll be served new entries instantly without having to refresh the page.

From the creators:

Your readers want your updates as quickly as possible, and we think we provide the easiest and the most flexible publishing environment to make that happen. Sometimes though, that’s just not enough.

When you’re covering a fast-paced event — the latest Apple unveiling, an F1 Grand Prix, or the Super Bowl — a full blog post for each individual update is a poor experience for your authors and your audience.

Here’s what it looks like for authors:

screenshot 1 520x498 WordPress.org users can now turn any post into a liveblog with Automattics new plugin

And for readers (new posts are highlighted):

screenshot 4 520x498 WordPress.org users can now turn any post into a liveblog with Automattics new plugin

How you add liveblogs to your posts after installing the plugin:

screenshot 7 520x498 WordPress.org users can now turn any post into a liveblog with Automattics new plugin

Bloggers have long relied on outside, embeddable services to liveblog events, and so by providing its own product for users, WordPress is expanding its reach and potentially threatening the success of 3rd-party offerings. Additionally, although this new tool is not built into the instal natively, it’s significant as it bridges the gap between longer-form content and the immediate.

Check out the new plugin via the link below and let us know what you think. As you can see above, it’s relatively attractive on its own, but may need customization to blend into your site.

➤ Liveblog

For more on WordPress, check out our post on Jetpack, another plugin by Automattic that bridges the gap between WordPress.com and .org.