Jetpack 9.7 was released today with updates under the hood that ensure the plugin’s blocks are compatible with the full-site editing features coming in WordPress 5.8. It also changes how sites access features that require the WordPress.com infrastructure.
A pull request merged in version 9.7 changes the connection flow to make Jetpack active as soon as the plugin enables a site level connection, instead of requiring a user to authenticate with WordPress.com in order for it to work. This is what the Jetpack team has been referring to as “user-less” in development.
The copy has been updated for this step so that after Jetpack is connected on a site level, it says, “Jetpack is activated! Unlock more amazing features by connecting a user account.”
Jetpack users who connect their sites will immediately have access to Stats, Site Accelerator, most Jetpack blocks, widget visibility, SEO tools, Related Posts, Likes, and many more modules. Other features, such as Publicize, Activity Log, Monitor, and Backup require you to authorize Jetpack to perform these actions on your behalf.
A new documentation page details why a WordPress.com connection is necessary for certain features, bringing more transparency to what has been a contentious topic in the past. The new page outlines which features are available for site connections versus authenticated WordPress.com accounts. These specific updates in 9.7 do not change any of the data or activity that Jetpack tracks or uses.
The general public was not privy to the product discussion behind making more features immediately available to user-less accounts, but there are a few reasons this is a good business idea. It allows users to get started faster so they get hooked into using more features on their sites before being forced to connect to a WordPress.com account. This will likely reduce the number of users who install the plugin but decide not to move forward because of needing to connect an account.
Jetpack 9.7 also brings performance improvements to the Carousel feature, several bug fixes for Instant Search, and more. The full list of enhancements and fixes can be found in the changelog.